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New Orleans Immigration Law Blog

Some immigrants end up detained when seeking family visas

Few people choose whom they will fall in love with, and when it happens, they want to spend the rest of their lives together, which often includes getting married. For some of those people living here in New Orleans or elsewhere in the country, this presents a logistical problem because they did not enter or remain here without the proper documentation. In 2016, regulations were enacted that allow immigrants who married U.S. citizens to seek waivers to remain in the country while they seek family visas and permanent residency.

All these individuals want is to rectify their legal status in the United States. They want to do the right thing, even if they were technically living here outside the law. Obtaining a waiver would prevent them from having to return to their country of origin during the process, which could take a significant amount of time.

Federal government halts legal assistance program

There are many changes taking place in the US immigration system right now, in both enforcement and new policies and procedures. Last week, the Justice Department halted the Legal Orientation Program, a service that gives legal counsel to detained immigrants facing deportation. It also operates help centers for non-detainees, including two Baton Rouge facilities.

Immigration law issues: Can ICE access your Facebook page?

Are certain people in the United States being hunted? Recent activities conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement more than likely make numerous people here in New Orleans and across the country who live here without the proper legal documentation feel that way. News articles are full of instances in which ICE performs raids in which people end up sitting in detention centers awaiting their fates under an ever-changing body of immigration law. Now, some of those articles indicate that even Facebook is not a safe place.

In one example, ICE began monitoring data from one person's Facebook page in order to ascertain his or her location. The information involved more than just reviewing posts and pictures, but determining where the individual was when accessing the popular social media site. ICE agents even found the individual's phone number.

The challenges of moving to the U.S. as an immigrant family

Uprooting one's life and moving to another part of the world can require paperwork - a lot of paperwork. And while some families find the paperwork to be the most challenging part of immigrating many others find that it's even harder to adjust to life in a new country.

Here are a few of the challenges immigrant families face when coming to the United States.

Even those with work visas question their futures

The news is filled with stories questioning the fate of numerous immigrants here in the United States, including many here in New Orleans, whose futures hang in the balance because they entered the country without going through the proper channels. The fact is that other immigrants who entered the country with work visas are wondering about their statuses as well. Even they face challenges remaining in the country at a time when immigration laws are in a state of flux and no definitive solutions have arisen.

Many of those immigrants also have employers who are concerned as well. Employees are not the only ones whose paths to citizenship may be in jeopardy. Some families who entered the country legally have had to wait up to 10 years or more the get green cards. By the time they were issued, some or all of their children had already become adults and were no longer considered immediate family under immigration law. As such, the green card came too late, leaving them in a legal limbo with regard to their own statuses.

Families seeking asylum under immigration law are being separated

Every year, many people come to the United States seeking asylum. Families flee their countries of origin in order to escape atrocities and find safety and freedom. However, when they arrive, whether it be in New Orleans or elsewhere, they could end up separated from their family members. Officials take children from their parents and put them into separate detention centers. Immigration law officials claim the separation is necessary in order to verify parentage and ascertain whether the children are victims of trafficking.

That may not be the whole story, however. Sources claim that the current administration intentionally separates families upon entry into the country as a deterrent. The theory is that families may think twice about entering the country illegally if they know that they will be separated from their children.

Supreme Court: Immigration law does not include bond hearings

The threat to the freedoms of those here in New Orleans and across the country who are not U.S. citizens seems to increase almost on a daily basis. Hundreds of people find themselves in detention centers as they await the government's decision as to whether they can remain in the country. Some of them spend a significant amount of time in those detention centers without the benefit of a hearing, which some believe to be a violation of their rights under immigration law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which is based on the West Coast, agrees. The court ruled in a class action suit filed on behalf of detained immigrants that they should go before a court at least every six months to determine whether they should be released on a bond. Some felt this was a victory.

Immigration law news: ICE arrests up last year

People residing here in New Orleans and throughout the country after entering the United States without proper immigration paperwork have much to fear right now. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents search for those without proper documentation and target them for deportation. Under immigration law, ICE can deputize local law enforcement agents to help them in these endeavors.

Recent raids on the West Coast resulted in over 100 people being detained. ICE agents are even targeting the popular convenience store chain 7-Eleven looking for those without the proper documentation. Local law enforcement in the area refused to take part in the raids, but that has not stopped ICE's efforts.

J-1 work visas allow students to work in the US during summers

While it is months away, it is never too early to think about summer plans, especially if those plans include traveling to the United States. For many college students in other countries, coming to Louisiana for summer employment is an opportunity to broaden their horizons while earning money to continue their educations or support their families. However, the first step toward that goal is to obtain a J-1 visa for summer work travel. The complex process for these work visas may take weeks to months to complete.

To be eligible for a J-1 visa, a student must be able to speak English well enough to function in situations where English is the primary language. Additionally, the student must have completed one or more semesters of study and be working towards a degree at an accredited institution in his or her own country. Having a job offer prior to applying is a requirement for applicants from many countries, but the U.S. waives that requirement for some countries, such as the United Kingdom.

5 successful entrepreneurs who immigrated to the United States

One of the primary reasons that the United States appeals to migrants is its myriad business opportunities. With a strong economy, competitive market and entrepreneurial spirit, the U.S. offers foreign-born entrepreneurs business opportunities that they might not find anywhere else in the world.

The United States needs immigrant entrepreneurs just as much—if not more—than they need it. According to a recent study, over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies had at least one founder who was an immigrant or a child of immigrants. Indeed, of all American startups that are valued over $1 billion, over half were founded by immigrants. If you need further proof, just take a look at these examples of successful entrepreneurs who started out as immigrants.