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Judge says ICE agents can't make arrests in immigration interview

Immigrants across Louisiana may feel worried about appearing for hearings or speaking with certain officials out of fear that they might be arrested. These fears are understandable, particularly as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been making more arrests outside of courthouses. However, a federal judge recently ruled that ICE agents were wrong when they arrested a man during an immigration interview.

The 38-year-old man traveled alone to the United States from China back in 1994 when he was only 14 years old. Although he is undocumented, his wife became a naturalized citizen in the year that they married -- 2004. The couple's children are also citizens. In 2008 he applied for asylum but was denied. He was ordered to be deported but remained in the country.

Should employment immigration be easier? Some say yes

Living and working in Louisiana is an exciting prospect for immigrants. However, securing the right visa for employment immigration can be a complicated matter. This is especially true when dealing like things with the H-1B program, which offers an extremely limited number of visas per year.

H-1B visas are for highly-skilled workers who generally work in specific employment niches, such as technology or engineering. Tech companies are some of the most common employers of immigrants with H-1B visas. The chances of getting one of those visas is relatively low, though. In 2018, approximately 200,000 people applied for an H-1B visa. Only 65,000 were admitted to the country.

Overstaying visa is a common occurrence in immigration

Undocumented immigrants who are living in Louisiana have to deal with a myriad of fears everyday. However, not all of these immigrants are individuals who crossed the border without the proper documentation. In the United States, individuals overstaying their visas far outpaces other forms of undocumented immigration. People in this situation might feel invisible and without any options for making the United States their legal home, but some may have more options than they realize.

Immigrants who enter the country on visas usually have the best of intentions. Many of these individuals come on visas for work or as students, while others arrive with tourist visas. These visas generally come with an expiration date, but there are not really any systems in place that make sure immigrants leave once their time is up.

US immigration law: Judge reverses deportation of veteran's widow

There are many benefits to being an immigrant in Louisiana, but for some people it can also bring a lot of uncertainties. U.S. immigration law may feel like it is undergoing constant changes and enforcement is not always uniform. However, this does not mean that individuals do not have options even when they are facing removal.

On April 8, 2019, officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a man while he was on his way to work. The man is a widower whose wife died in combat while deployed to Afghanistan back in 2010. The couple had one daughter who is now 12 years old. Although he was an undocumented immigrant, he was allowed to stay in the United States through a program called parole in place. This allows undocumented military families to remain in the country at least temporarily.

U.S. immigration law: can past jobs affect citizenship prospects?

Many of the lawful permanent residents living in Louisiana hope to one day become naturalized citizens. These individuals probably already understand that they will have to go through an interview for the application process, but some people might not be as prepared as they think. Permanent residents living in another state say they were questioned about their line of work, which, despite being legal in their state, might not be considered okay under U.S. immigration law.

A man who has been a permanent resident of the United States for more than two years recently spoke out about how he was denied citizenship. Medical marijuana is legal in the state he lives in, and he works at a dispensary. His position at the dispensary was brought up during his citizenship interview in the fall of 2018. Since, even for medicinal uses, marijuana is not legal under federal law, he was denied citizenship.

Preparing for immigration interviews

Starting a new life in Louisiana can be exciting, but there are many layers of applications and steps that immigrants must go through before calling this state home. Immigration interviews are just one of those steps, which many people feel unprepared for. Those who have an upcoming interview might want to keep the following in mind.

Interviews are conducted by an officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so preparing for the interview is important. Most people should be prepared to answer a broad range of questions, including personal questions. However, this does not mean that individuals need to elaborate or offer information that the USCIS officer did not ask about. Answering only the questions is best.

US immigration law: Dreamer detained after international flight

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program provides important protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. However, these protections only extend so far, which can be concerning for some immigrants living in Louisiana. These concerns might be amplified by the recent situation involving a flight attendant who was accused of violating U.S. immigration law.

The 28-year-old flight attendant was enrolled in the DACA program while working for Mesa Airlines. In Feb. 2019, the woman was scheduled to work on a flight to Mexico. She spoke with her employer about her concerns regarding flying to another country under her current immigration status. Her employer assured her the flight would not be an issue, and so she worked accordingly.

US immigration law: International immigration offices could close

At times, the immigration process might feel prolonged for those who are ready to make Louisiana their new home. A recent decision concerning U.S. immigration law could make the wait times for some people even longer. In the near future, the locations of dozens of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in foreign countries could close.

The move is apparently financially motivated, which is estimated to save the government millions of dollars every year. While it might look good for the government's bottom line, some are arguing that the decision to close these international immigration offices will cause more headaches than anything else. In particular, it could complicate and significantly slow down the process for seeking refugee status.

US Immigration law: appealing asylum denial could get easier

Seeking asylum in the United States may be the only option for those who fear returning to their home country. Unfortunately, U.S. immigration law does not always make it easy for asylum-seekers to demonstrate credible fears. A recent ruling by a federal court could make it easier for those who hope to make Louisiana their home but were initially denied asylum to seek an appeal.

In 1996, Congress passed a law that severely limited asylum-seekers access to the American court system. This made it difficult -- if not impossible -- for people to challenge the decisions made by immigration judges and asylum officers. A recent ruling from a U.S. Court of Appeals states that the limitations of the 1996 law are actually unconstitutional. This means that it will be much more difficult for the government to enforce quick deportations for those who fail their initial asylum screenings at the border.

US immigration law: How a hardship waiver can help you stay

Undocumented immigrants in Louisiana often worry that they will never have a path toward remaining in the United States legally. However, if faced with deportation, these individuals have a couple of options they can take advantage of. Depending on the situation, they could either leave the country or apply for a hardship waiver. Getting a hardship waiver means that individuals must meet certain requirements under U.S. immigration law.

If a person has lived undocumented in the United States for a year or longer, he or she may leave the country, serve a 10-year ban on re-entry and then become a legal resident afterward. This is not a viable option for everyone, so some may choose to file a 601 waiver, which is commonly referred to as a hardship waiver. If granted, the person would be able to avoid the 10-year ban on re-entry.