Immigration law is one of the most crucial fields of the administrative system of a nation. Lawyers working at the core of the administration system need to know about immigration law and its nuances. People generally turn to immigration-related queries for career or citizenship, and they resort to a lawyer for help. Hence, every lawyer needs to know the basics of immigration law.
Immigration law comprises a set of national regulations that the federal government enforces upon an individual to determine his/her citizenship. Immigration law also determines who can enter the nation from a foreign land and for how long can stay there.
If a person with foreign nationality enters and resides in a country without legal grants, then the immigration law determines his/her detention. In this article, we’ll discuss what every lawyer needs to know about immigration law.
Basics of Immigration Law
The constitution of the U. S. permits the legislative body of Congress to regulate the lawful immigration of people rightfully. Title 8 of the United States Code of laws includes all the information regarding the nationality act and immigration system.
Governing Bodies Enforcing Immigration Law
The agencies of the federal government that execute immigration laws are the following.
Homeland Security Department
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigates and prosecutes those who conduct unlawful acts.
- S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts the application process of immigration.
- S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) secures the borders from illegal invasions from foreign places.
Department of Justice
- Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) resolves the immigration status and discards nonimmigrant visas.
- Attorney General (AG) serves as the chief advisor of the federal government and takes the final decision to do lawful justice.
- Consulate General works in the state jurisdiction along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop noncitizens.
Department of Labor System
- The immigration system for people coming for work purposes gives an immigrant visa.
- Two types of immigrant visas available; visas for temporary workers or religious workers and visas for priority workers.
- Nonimmigrant visas grant permission to students, tourists, etc., for staying on a temporary basis.
Lawyers need to know the four fundamental types of citizenship statuses in the United States. They can gather the relevant information on the immigration system and status from the web portals of Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School or refer to the web portal of Lawrina.
However, here we’ll discuss the citizenship categories in the US.
Citizens are those who were born in the US or are naturalized citizens. The federal system cannot undergo deportation proceedings against them unless the citizenship proves fraud. A citizen falls under the tax system and has the right to vote. The method to become a citizen in the US involves the following criteria.
- Birth in the US
- Sponsored by close relatives like parents, spouse, children, etc.
- Naturalization after staying for five to seven years as a lawful permanent resident.
Lawful permanent residency helps the individual to have a “Green Card” in the US. It means the person has permission from the federal government to stay and work in the US permanently. The person can also convert his/her conditional residency to permanent residency through relevant evidence and charges. The process to transform into a lawful permanent resident is here.
- Through family members that are citizens in the US.
- Through permanent employment.
- Through humanitarian grounds, especially for refugees and special immigrants.
Lawyers need to know the features that a green card holder can avail of while residing in the US. They are the following.
- An LPR doesn’t have the voting right.
- They need not be a citizen.
- Can stay forever in the US
- Legal authorities can run deportation proceedings if they get caught with fraudulence.
Temporary or Nonimmigrants
Individuals with nonimmigrant visas can stay in the US on a temporary basis. They can stay here as priority workers, temporary workers, religious workers, students, or business workers. The temporary status requires the following criteria to obtain.
- Temporary employment
- Academic purpose
- Special immigration policy.
Since the nationality of the individual is not the United States, the lawyer must guide him/her about the features of the temporary residence. Here are the features.
- The residence is for a specialty occupation; hence, the stay is temporary.
- No right to vote is available for legal immigrants.
- On finding unlawful activities, the person might face legal persecution by the federal government.
If a person enters the US without legal permits and stays there illegally, then he/she falls in the undefined or undocumented category. He/she cannot avail the state services for the public, like healthcare benefits, car licenses, etc. Foreign entities need to have the following criteria to have the status of undefined.
- Valid immigrant’s status went outdated.
- Nonimmigrant visas expired.
- Yet to achieve the status of a lawful permanent resident.
The lawyer must know the immigration laws to find out the critical nuances in the case of undocumented individuals. Here are the features that a person in the US with undocumented status has to consider.
- The person with foreign nationality can achieve the valid resident’s status with time.
- He/she has no right to participate in voting.
- He/she can face deportation proceedings at any point in time.
Apart from these basics of immigration law, a lawyer must be aware of some other critical aspects of the immigration system. Here are a few of these.
Is Immigrant Law Civil or Criminal?
Indeed, immigration law is a civil law, but it thoroughly finds a connection with criminal offenses. Thus, immigration laws are constantly uttered along with criminal laws. The lawyer must know that the immigration system works in the hands of the federal government. Hence, the laws work with the judiciary, customs, border security, etc.
Can Legal Immigrants be Subjected to Deportation Proceedings?
A legal immigrant can face deportation proceedings through the judiciary if he/she involves in criminal or unlawful activities, like fraud immigration, terrorism, etc.
To conclude, a lawyer has to know every small nuance about the immigration system of a country. If the lawyer is in the US, these are the basics of immigration law that he/she must know.