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Does US immigration law limit when I an apply for asylum?

No one should have to fear violence or death for returning to their home, this is the reality for an untold number of people. While this is an extremely distressing situation, applying for asylum can help those currently in Louisiana or who are hoping to make it their future place of residence. Here is what those planning to apply for asylum should know about the process under U.S. immigration law.

Individuals can apply for asylum either at a port-of-entry or while already living in the United States. For those already living in America, the application must usually be made within the first year of a person's arrival. Exceptions do apply, though, and if a person experiences a significant change in circumstances that affects their eligibility they can apply outside of the one-year limit. Such conditions might include changing conditions in a person's home country or changes to their own personal situation. Undocumented immigrants can also apply for asylum as long as it is within the time limit.

Employment immigration for professors or researchers

Teaching or conducting research at a Louisiana university can be an exciting prospect for the future. However, professionals who have yet to reach the top of their chosen profession often worry that there is not any room for them in employment immigration. If you are a researcher or professor who is currently excelling in your field, you may be surprised to learn that there is a path to immigration specifically for you. 

Individuals who are considered outstanding professors or researchers are in one of the three groups given first preference for EB-1 visas. If you are currently excelling in your field but have yet to reach the top, you may qualify. However, you must have three or more years of experience and be recognized internationally for your academic work. Holding tenure, being on a tenure-track or holding a comparable position as a researcher is also necessary. 

Does U.S. immigration law protect against deportation?

Being removed from the United States -- also referred to as being deported -- is often a traumatic experience. However, an order of removal is not necessarily the final say on the matter. Under U.S. immigration law, those living in Louisiana might be able to delay or avoid removal altogether.

Receiving asylum as a refugee is a smart option for those who cannot return home due to safety concerns. In order to receive asylum, individuals must file within their first year of coming into the United States. They must also be able to demonstrate their inability to go back home because of prior persecution or a substantial fear of persecution because of their religion, race, nationality, political opinion or more.

US immigration law changes could negatively impact Iran

Louisiana readers know that immigration is a hot topic right now, and potential new changes could make it even more complex. New proposed legislation could pass sometime soon, which could negatively some people waiting to get green cards. Skilled laborers applying for green cards from Iran could be more negatively impacted by this potential new U.S. immigration law than those from other countries.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017, if passed, would essentially eliminate the current limitations that allow countries to have a certain percentage of the 140,000 green cards issued by the United States each year. There are some who believe this will benefit green card applicants from larger countries. Those from smaller countries, such as Iran, could have much lower chances of obtaining permission to enter the U.S.

Employment immigration -- how the H-1B visa is changing

Want to work in the United States? Individuals who hold advanced degrees from institutions in the United States will likely have a leg up when applying for the H-1B visa program. The shifting focus toward individuals with more advanced degrees could change current trends in employment immigration, potentially affecting those who are hoping to travel to Louisiana for work in a specialty occupation.

H-1B visas are currently capped at 65,000 per year. However, an additional 20,000 visas are allocated every year for foreign workers who earned advanced degrees at U.S. educational institutions. However, generally most H-1B visa recipients have advanced degrees and are qualified to work in extremely specialized occupations. The current presidential administration wants to change this by bringing in more workers who studied in America.

US immigration law: Do I need a visa to visit Louisiana?

From delicious food to historical sites, Louisiana has a lot to offer for those planning to visit. While visiting the state from another country might seem quite alluring, the prospect of securing the necessary visas to do so can feel overwhelming. However, under U.S. immigration law, certain individuals may travel to the United States without a visa.

The Visa Waiver Program is an important part of immigration law. It allows citizens from 38 different countries to travel to the United States so long as their travel purposes are other permitted by visitor (B) visas. Travelers need to also have authorization for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA. The ESTA is used by Customs and Border Protection to ensure a person's eligibility for travel on business or tourism, so those traveling in a group -- even family members -- must have their own ESTA.

Family immigration: What should I do to bring my spouse to the US

After falling in love and getting engaged, Louisiana couples usually spend significant amounts of time focused on planning the perfect wedding before jetting off to a relaxing honeymoon. However, for U.S. citizens who recently married a foreign national, the focus is usually on obtaining the necessary visa. In terms of family immigration, the process of bringing a spouse to live in the United States is relatively straightforward.

The first of three necessary steps is for the person who is already a citizen to file an immigrant visa petition for his or her spouse. There is a fee associated with this filing -- Form I-130 -- which individuals should be aware of. However, unlike with other petitions, there is no wait list after filing a Form I-130.

US immigration law: application denials skyrocketing

Coming to live and work in the United States is a dream that some may feel is falling further and further out of reach. Because of recent changes to U.S. immigration law, denials for all manners of immigrant applications have jumped significantly. Although this can seem disheartening for immigrants, there are still many options for coming to Louisiana.

Between the 2016 fiscal year and the first nine months of the 2018 FY, denials for a wide range of immigration benefits jumped an astounding 37 percent. This comes out to 155,000 more denials in 2018 than in 2016. These figures do not include applications for citizenship or for programs like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

US immigration law: Journalist appeals deportation order

A journalist in a neighboring state is facing deportation after he was arrested for covering a protest. Although he has lived and worked in the United States for many years, U.S. immigration law could dictate that he return to a country that he says is not safe for him. Louisiana immigrants who are dealing with similar issues may want to take note of the appeals process that the journalist has used to delay deportation thus far.

After being on the receiving end of death threats for his journalistic work, the man left his home country of El Salvador and arrived in the United States as an undocumented immigration in 2006. He has since worked as a journalist, even running a news outlet that reported on the effects of immigration policies on the local Hispanic community. He was reporting on demonstrators who were protesting current immigration policies when area police apparently ordered everyone to clear the streets.

Citizenship applications facing serious backlog

Coming to the United States is often the first step for immigrants who have a much greater goal in mind -- becoming a citizen. However, wait times for citizenship applications are currently much longer than they used to be. With the process taking up to two years in some areas of the U.S., some people hoping to make Louisiana their permanent home could be in for a significant waiting game.

In the past, applications for citizenship were typically processed in about six months or so. Now, as changes from the federal government complicate the already difficult immigration process, those wait times have lengthened significantly. Over 700,000 immigrants are currently waiting for their applications to be processed.