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New Orleans Immigration Law Blog

New Orleans man's plight highlights changing immigration law

Many immigrants living here in New Orleans do so with the same trepidation as others across the country. At this point, immigration law seems to be changing at a rapid pace, and many people struggle to stay on pace with those changes. Seeing flashing lights in the rear view mirror of a car may be enough to cause concern.

This is what happened to one New Orleans father. After being arrested for a DUI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement took notice of him. A deportation order was issued against him, despite his pleas regarding his children. Both of his daughters suffer from chronic medical conditions, and need their father.

Will the revival of an immigration law put more people at risk?

People in many cities throughout the country, including New Orleans, face uncertain futures. With immigration law seemingly in a constant state of flux, no one can be sure what tomorrow will bring. Now, many police departments are considering opting into a program in which they would work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The program basically deputizes local law enforcement officers to perform some of the duties ICE agents undertake. Local departments pay for the travel and training and ICE pays for the installation of equipment and software needed in order to perform their duties. Those duties include inquiring about the immigration status of people arrested in the jurisdiction.

How would merit-based immigration work?

President Donald Trump recently suggested a switch from the well-known diversity visa lottery program and the current family-based scheme to a "merit-based" system. Potential immigrants and those without in-depth knowledge of our immigration laws aren't sure what this entails.

So, what would merit-based immigration look like?

The changes in immigration law keep coming

It may seem to those here in New Orleans that longstanding protections for people who are not yet U.S. citizens change weekly. That may not be far from the truth. The latest immigration law under scrutiny by the federal government concerns those protected by the Temporary Protected Status program that has been in place for some time.

Under this program, immigrants from certain countries, mostly those in Central America, have been allowed to enter, live and work in the United States. Those individuals granted TPS come from countries devastated by natural disasters and/or armed conflict. Returning to their countries could mean putting themselves in harm's way. 

Renewing H-IB work visas just got more complex

In the last 10 years or so, millions of people from other countries have received the opportunity to work in the United States, and many of them may reside here in New Orleans. Approximately 2.5 million of them did so by obtaining H-1B work visas. These visas last for approximately three years with a total of six years of potential extensions.

Renewing an H-1B used to be easier since those holding them were given deference when the time came in accordance with a 2004 memo from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This meant that USCIS would base its decisions to extend such visas (at least in part) on previous eligibility determinations. In essence, this put the responsibility on the agency. 

EB-5 investors sue USCIS for intentional processing delays

A group of foreign investors who have put substantial money into a solar energy plant were expecting to receive EB-5 investor visas in exchange. After more than two years, the first step toward those visas has yet to be approved. They have filed suit against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, accusing the agency of dragging its feet when it has a duty to approve such projects in a timely fashion.

EB-5 visas are available to international entrepreneurs who are willing to put funds into commercial projects in the U.S. The program is intended to stimulate economic growth, particularly in under-developed areas of the country.

Immigration law: Young girl detained after gallbladder surgery

The idea of facing legal proceedings due to immigration issues can be intimidating. Individuals without the right information may feel that they have little hope of achieving favorable outcomes once deportation proceedings begin. Because immigration law is a complicated legal area, concerned Louisiana residents may want to consider gaining assistance.

One family in another state may be hoping to enlist help after a 10-year-old girl was put in immigration detention. Reports stated that the young girl has cerebral palsy and had just undergone gallbladder surgery when she was detained. Apparently, after being medically released from the hospital, she was taken to a children's shelter due to not having proper immigration documents. She was transported to the shelter by ambulance.

Immigration law: Doctor receives news of deportation order

Many individuals have traveled from other countries to live in various areas of Louisiana and other regions across the country. Those who are unable to obtain a green card may be faced with the possibility of deportation, and since immigration law can be complex, they might be uncertain how best to approach the situation. A doctor who has lived and treated patients in another state for as many as 18 years has recently been notified that an order for her deportation will soon be enforced.

According to reports, the woman came to the country seeking refuge from her home, which she claims posed a threat to her life. After the passing of her sister, she chose to go into medicine to help others who need medical attention, but cannot afford to obtain it. Witnesses say the woman has helped a multitude of others throughout her 18 years in the state.

Immigration law news: Lottery for green cards set to begin again

What the federal government calls a "technical glitch" caused an untold number of applications for green cards to be lost. Those people who applied under the immigration law lottery for green cards will have to apply again starting Oct. 18. For anyone who wants to come to New Orleans and who wants to take advantage of this program, the application period runs through Nov. 22.

The lottery falls under the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Each year, a certain number of diversity green cards are awarded to "winners" of the lottery. Anyone with a confirmation number for an application submitted between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 is advised to throw it away because it is now no good. Anyone falling into this group will need to reapply during the new time frame set for the acceptance of applications.

Obtaining a green card through work under immigration law

Perhaps you entered the United States on a work visa and then realized that you would like to stay permanently. In order to do so under immigration law, you would need to obtain a green card, which provides you with permanent residency. Numerous avenues exist for you to take on your journey to obtaining permanent residency, and one of those ways is through your employment. 

Fortunately, you do not have to apply for a green card here in New Orleans. You may also apply from your home country. Work visas fall into several categories, and your first task will be to determine what preference category you fit into based on your qualifications. Once you know what category you fall into, you can then pursue permanent residency in one of four ways.