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Applying for visa extensions according to US immigration law

Business and tourism visas are two of the most common ways people visit the United States temporarily. However, some people understandably want to extend their visits to Louisiana. The good news is that U.S. immigration law gives some people the option to stay in the country for longer than their original visas allow.

A foreign visitor cannot use a B-1 or B-2 visa with the intention of staying longer than allowed. In fact, immigration officials will even deny the visa application or refuse to let the person enter the country if they suspect that is his or her intention. These visas are not intended for people to ultimately immigrate to the United States.

ICE complicates family immigration for married couples

Getting married is a big deal. But some people in Louisiana have a lot more to think about than just the decorations and what to wear. U.S. citizens who are sponsoring their spouses have to deal with the complicated family immigration process. Sadly, these couples are not always treated fairly.

According to federal regulations, citizens who marry undocumented immigrants can still try to help their spouses gain legal status, just like other couples. This is true even if a spouse has an order for deportation. Going to a marriage interview is one of the first steps for helping a spouse get legal residency, but the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made it impossible to move any further.

County officials who detained immigrants broke US immigration law

Louisiana state laws can be pretty confusing, and federal laws are not any easier to understand. This is just one of the reasons that so many people do not understand what rights they have under U.S. immigration law. This can lead to unfortunate outcomes, like even being unlawfully detained.

A court recently sided with the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit that it filed back in 2018. The lawsuit claimed that officials in a county from another state broke the law when they detained undocumented immigrants, and then waited for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement -- ICE -- to pick them up. But the lawsuit claimed that those officials never had any sort of cause to actually hold the dozen or so affected immigrants.

US immigration law makes getting visas harder for pregnant women

Some women might find that it is more difficult to get visas than it was in the past. A new U.S. immigration law rule aims to keep out pregnant women who could be planning on giving birth in America. However, it is not exactly clear how immigration officials in Louisiana and elsewhere are going to actually implement this rule.

The change is in response to birth tourism, a practice that involves traveling to the United States specifically to give birth. Women who do participate in this practice generally do so with B visas. B visas can be used for things like short-term visits, tourist activities, business travel and urgent medical treatment. There is still an exception for pregnant women who are traveling for medical care.

Be sure to follow US immigration law when filing an appeal

Immigration decisions are not always as final as they seem. U.S. immigration law allows people to appeal petitions, applications and even visas that were denied or revoked. Since filing an appeal is often complicated, it is important for people in Louisiana to understand how the process works.

When a petitioner -- the person who submitted an application or petition -- thinks that a request should have been approved instead of denied, he or she can ask the Administrative Appeals Office to reconsider. This is done by filing an administrative appeal. Only petitioners are allowed to make appeals, so a woman whose visa petition for her husband was denied has to be the one to do so.

How to lose US permanent residency

Getting a green card is usually the last step before an immigrant can apply for citizenship. Although someone's end goal might be to become a citizen, achieving U.S. permanent residency is a very significant step. However, the term permanent resident can be misleading. Being granted this status does not necessarily guarantee that immigrants in Louisiana cannot be removed from the country.

Immigrants living in America may wish to visit their home countries to visit loved ones or travel abroad on vacations. Permanent residents are allowed to make these trips as long as they are short term. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will cancel a person's green card if he or she leaves the country for longer than a year. A green card can also be canceled for establishing residency in a different country.

New H-1B visa rules may limit employment immigration

Filling specialty occupation jobs is not always easy, especially since they usually require very specific qualifications. Employment immigration helps employers hire the most qualified candidates even if they are living outside of the United States. There are many individuals living in Louisiana who originally came to America to work in specialty occupations. But the process they used to get their visas will soon be much harder.

In March 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to start using an electronic registration for H-1B visas. The annual lottery for all 65,000 visas will take place the following month. Employers might like the idea of submitting applications electronically, but it could actually be a bad thing. The new system requires employers to only submit minimal information on their professionals. Since the process will be easier, the percentage of approved petitions is expected to decline for the fourth year in a row.

Many Liberians can apply for US Permanent Residency

There are a lot of different ways to immigrate to the United States, but not all of them give people the opportunity to apply for citizenship one day. A new rule will make it much easier for one group of immigrants to get on that path. Liberians who have temporary legal status can now apply for U.S. permanent residency.

Between 1989 and 2003, thousands of Liberian citizens living through their country's civil war sought refuge in America, including Louisiana. These individuals were given temporary legal status under the Deferred Enforced Departure -- DED -- program. That program is set to end on March 30, 2020, but there are around 4,000 people from Liberia who are still living and working with DED protection.

How to spot fraudulent US immigration law services

Navigating through the United States immigration system can be very confusing. Even though a lot of people talk about U.S. immigration law as if it is just one big process, there are many applications, visas and processes that are unique to different situations. It is understandable that some people in Louisiana might need a bit of guidance when dealing with immigration issues. Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent services that are eager to take advantage of people.

There are no guarantees in life, especially not when it comes to immigration. This does not stop some immigration services businesses from promising people that they can secure visas, employment authorizations or even green cards. These so-called guarantees are never true. Not only is it impossible to promise anything like that, but those fake guarantees are usually just a front for exploiting immigrants by charging very high fees.

U.S. immigration law: Fake court dates are making asylum harder

It is very important for immigrants living in Louisiana to show up for court dates. Immigrants who are seeking and who have already received asylum are usually very responsible and make every effort to be at the correct place on the correct date. But many people who have already been granted asylum under U.S. immigration law are dealing with the same problem -- they are showing up for court dates that never existed in the first place.

In Nov. 2019, a 25-year-old man was granted asylum and traveled to a port of entry four days later. When he showed up with his asylum document, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official pulled him aside. Instead of allowing him entry, that official gave him a court date for some time in Jan. 2020 and told him to remain in Mexico until that time.