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Don't take bad US immigration law advice

There is a lot of confusing information about immigration, and it can be hard to separate the good advice from the bad. Of course, people usually do not give out misguided advice on purpose. The problem is really that U.S. immigration law is complicated. But for however complicated it might be, there are a few pieces of advice that might be helpful to immigrants in Louisiana.

First, expect delays. Whether submitting an application for a visa or waiting for a renewal, the immigration process is unfortunately not that fast. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is rarely on schedule. This means that applications that would otherwise proceed quickly can take months or even years to be processed.

Sponsoring children with family immigration

Family means everything to a lot of people in Louisiana, and living without loved ones nearby might be unimaginable. However, living apart from relatives is just another part of everyday life for many immigrants. This is especially tough for parents who are separated from their children. Parents do have options under family immigration, though, and can petition for their children to come to the United States.

U.S. immigration law defines a "child" as a son or daughter who is not married and is younger than 21. There is an exception for permanent residents, as these individuals can also petition for children older than 21 so long as the children are not married. These petitions also extend to grandchildren.

US immigration law -- Can I file for unemployment?

Losing a job can be devastating, especially for people who are hard workers and proud of their jobs. But things may be a little more complicated for certain groups of people like immigrants who are working in Louisiana and worried about running afoul of U.S. immigration law. Immigrants who are legally living all across the country are worried about what filing for unemployment means for their future in the United States.

Immigrants who want to obtain green cards and become permanent residents are probably the group dealing with the most fear over unemployment. The relatively new "public charge" rule considers whether someone seeking permanent status might need public assistance in the future, and it limits his or her ability to get a green card accordingly. What many do not realize is that unemployment is not a form of public assistance, and the public charge rule does not apply to applications for citizenship or green card renewals.

US citizenship out of reach for some immigrant service members

There are many active duty men and women assigned to one of several military bases in Louisiana. But contrary to what some might believe about the United States Armed Forces, not all of the people serving are U.S. citizens. Immigrants can not only serve in the military, but their service can also set them on a path toward citizenship. Unfortunately, some service members say that the Department of Defense is restricting -- and even blocking -- that path.

According to U.S. law, noncitizens who serve in the military during times of armed conflict can become naturalized citizens soon after entering service. In the past, noncitizen service members simply had to submit the N-426 form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The N-426 form certifies someone's honorable service in the military.

Employment immigration: Securing a temporary work visa

Louisiana is a great place to live, and foreign nationals have several different options for making that happen. One way is through employment immigration, which gives immigrants the opportunity to work in the United States. Temporary work visas are fairly common in employment immigration and can be used both by highly skilled workers as well as those with more menial skills.

As the name implies, temporary work visas allow immigrants to work in the United States for a limited period of time. H-type visas are some of the more well known work visas. These cover a number of different fields and workers.

A pause on US permanent residency

Some foreign nationals who have been waiting for green cards in their home countries will now have to wait a little bit longer. This is frustrating, as securing U.S. permanent residency is already a long process. It can also be frustrating for citizens living in Louisiana who sponsored their family members. Here is what people should know about the current situation involving an executive order that affects those who are waiting for their green cards in their home countries.

An executive order from President Trump will prevent immigrants seeking green cards from entering the United States for a period of 60 days. This move is not a ban on potential green card holders and it will not start the whole process over. According to the presidential administration, this move is basically pressing pause on this form of immigration.

Reasons for grounds of inadmissibility

There are a lot of reasons why you might have been denied entry to the United States. Understanding why an immigration official decided you were inadmissible is important for fighting the decision. If you are still hoping to live in Louisiana one day, here are some common grounds of inadmissibility and information about waivers.

For a variety of reasons, your health might have been your grounds of inadmissibility. This could be because you have not received certain vaccinations or carry a communicable disease. If vaccinations violate your religious beliefs or are not safe for you, you can request that this requirement be waived. You can also receive a waiver if you have mental or physical disabilities.

Wage concerns among H-1B workers

Working in Louisiana with an H-1B visa has many benefits, including guaranteed pay even during non-productive periods. This means that H-1B workers will not miss out on pay if they are furloughed or if their employer has to temporarily close. However, there are ways in which an employer might be able to legally reduce wages in these types of situations.

When applying for an H-1B visa, a worker's labor certification application must include the employer's offered wage. That application is then approved by the Labor Department, and the employer is required to continue paying that wage regardless of inactive operating periods. If that employer wants to retain the worker during such a period but also needs to reduce wages, he or she could file an amended visa petition and labor certification application, requesting that the worker's status be changed to part time.

More H-2B visas available for employment immigration

Seasonal workers are an essential part of the United States' workforce, and immigrants fill many of the seasonal positions in Louisiana. These seasonal workers come to this country on H-2B visas, although getting one is not always easy. However, the Department of Homeland Security is raising the number of available visas, making employment immigration more widely available for workers who fill seasonal positions.

In 2019, the U.S. Congress gave DHS authority to increase the number of available H-2B visas. DHS added another 35,000 visas, putting the total at 66,000 per year. The first batch of these visas were made available on April 1, 2020. The second will be available on May 15, 2020. DHS also announced that it allocated 10,000 visas for seasonal workers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which it hopes will lower the number of undocumented workers from these countries.

What can I do while waiting for my green card?

Permanent residents of the United States enjoy a number of benefits, including being able to work and travel within reason. However, some people who have already achieved permanent residence but have not yet received their green cards might not be sure what some of their options are. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering working or traveling without a green card in hand.

Someone who was already a permanent resident before traveling to Louisiana can use his or her passport for traveling abroad. A person in this situation should have already had  his or her passport stamped by a border officer when first entering the United States. That stamp, which is good for six months, shows that he or she is a permanent resident. As long as the individual returns before the stamp expires, traveling to visit family or friends should be fine.