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US immigration law makes allowances for the COVID-19 virus

It is hard to ignore some of the growing unease around new immigration policies, especially when it comes to health and public benefits. But immigrants in Louisiana who are also worried about the coronavirus can still get related medical help without losing some of their options for the future. The U.S. immigration law rule that limits green cards to only those who have not used government benefits does not apply to immigrants who need care for the COVID-19 virus.

The rule limiting who qualifies for green cards went into effect in Feb. 2020. More recently, advocacy groups say they have been speaking with many immigrants who need to seek health care, but are too scared to do so. These are mostly people who cannot go to school or work because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Getting proof of your US citizenship

Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States is a long and hard journey. Actually getting that U.S. citizenship usually feels like a conclusive end to things, but a lot of people overlook something very important -- actually getting proof. Naturalized citizens who are living in Louisiana should be sure that they have at least one form of proof. Although it might seem unnecessary, being prepared for potential problems in the future is essential.

Getting a U.S. passport is a good choice when getting proof of citizenship, especially for naturalized citizens who like to travel. Applying takes place in one of the many U.S. passport offices around the country, most of which are easily accessible. People who choose this option should be ready to supply evidence of their citizenship. This can include things like records for taxes, employment and citizenship.

Using a nonimmigrant visa to visit the United States

Not every foreign national who travels to the United States does so with the intention of making it their home. Many people choose to visit Louisiana for things like vacation, sightseeing and more. A person who wants to temporarily enter the country for these and other reasons will need to acquire a nonimmigrant visa.

The B-2 visitors visa is one example of a nonimmigrant visa used for temporary travel. A person can get a B-2 visa if he or she is going on vacation, touring the country or visiting family or friends. Someone who is participating in certain events -- such as amateur sporting tournaments and theatrical events -- can also use this visa, but only if he or she will not be compensated. Other valid reasons for getting a B-2 visa include getting medical treatment, attending conventions or participating in social organization gatherings.

Tighter US immigration law restrictions target the middle class

Almost everybody needs a little help now and then. One of the newest U.S. immigration law rules will make it a lot harder for some immigrants in Louisiana to reach out and ask for that help. This is because if immigration officials think that a person might need government benefits in the future, he or she cannot apply for a green card.

The new "public charge" rule only involves certain benefits, like Medicaid, housing vouchers and SNAP -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This rule actually goes beyond denying green cards to people who have already used those benefits and is supposed to target immigrants who might need government help. Instead, it will unfairly impact a lot of people who will never need benefits.

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.