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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.

There are many options for employment immigration

Living and working in Louisiana might seem like just a dream, but it can be a reality. Employment immigration is a popular way for some workers to come to the United States. However, there is no one-size-fits-all visa that covers all of employment-based immigration. Here are a few options that may apply to various situations.

Annually, the U.S. government makes available about 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas. In most cases -- although not always -- a U.S. based employer will file the paperwork for its employee. These visas vary in application, and may be utilized by priority workers seeking EB-1 visas, those with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees seeking EB-2 visas, skilled professionals filing with EB-3 visas and more. The qualifications for these visas vary.

Immigration officials stage sting with fake university

A recent joint sting operation from Homeland Security and Immigration's and Customs Enforcement resulted in over 100 arrests. Officials set up what they say was a fake university designed to catch people who were attempting to commit immigration visa fraud. This news might be upsetting to foreign national students who are hoping to study in Louisiana.

It is unclear why these officials were concerned that some people were possibly misusing the student visa system, but those worries were apparently serious enough to warrant the sting operation. The fake university -- the University of Farmington -- had approximately 130 people enroll as full-time students. All have since been arrested.

Rapper 21 Savage facing immigration woes

Those in Louisiana who were not already familiar with rapper 21 Savage for his music now probably know him for his ongoing legal issues. He is currently in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and faces potential removal from the country and a 10-year ban on re-entry. However, the rapper insists that he is being unnecessarily punished and has not done anything to warrant his current treatment.

As a U.K. national, 21 Savage -- real name She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph -- originally came to the U.S. when he was only a child. Although his family arrived legally in 2005, their visas expired the next year. This is not an uncommon situation, and 21 Savage is one of nearly two million others who were brought to the U.S. legally as children, but are now living without legal status.

Fake immigration court dates cause mass confusion

The recent government shutdown threw an untold number of individuals into a state of uncertainty regarding their previously-scheduled immigration court dates. Despite the reopening, many are still dealing with constant confusion and chaos. On a recent Thursday, immigrants across Louisiana and the rest of the country showed up for what they thought were legitimately scheduled court dates only to discover something extremely upsetting upon their arrival -- their immigration court dates never existed in the first place.

Officials with ICE allegedly issued thousands of court summons for Jan. 31, 2019. When issuing the Notice to Appear documents, officials told immigrants that if they did not appear on the specified date they would risk being permanently removed from the United States. It is not clear what reasons these officials gave when serving the documents.

Dealing with criminal convictions and US Immigration Law

Facing criminal charges in Louisiana is difficult enough as it is, but add in concerns over immigration status and things can very quickly go downhill. Because of how U.S. immigration law treats criminal charges and convictions, you might even feel as if you are being punished twice. Here is what you need to know about dealing with a criminal conviction as an immigrant.

If you were recently convicted for a criminal charge, you could possibly be arrested by officials from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. This arrest can lead to your detention, possible revocation of status and ultimate removal from the country. The stakes are extremely high in this situation, and what counts as a conviction can even be up to interpretation. If you were sentenced by a jury or a judge, entered a guilty plea, received a suspended sentence or more, then you were likely convicted. Even receiving deferred adjudication can count as a conviction in the eyes of ICE.

Requirements for citizenship naturalization

There are many advantages to becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. As a citizen, individuals can exercise various rights -- including the right to vote -- and apply for specific jobs or benefit programs in Louisiana. Those who hope to obtain U.S. citizenship should be aware that there are requirements for applying for naturalization, though. Such requirements include things like residency, age and even language ability.

Individuals must be 18 years of age to apply for naturalization. Additionally, an applicant must also be a legal permanent resident and, out of the past five years, have been physically present in the country for 30 months or longer. Any absences between six months and one year must be explained.

Immigration court backlog longer than ever before

Immigrating to the United States is a long process filled with paperwork, documents and lots and lots of waiting. Unfortunately, that waiting is only getting worse by the day. Because of several factors -- including a now record government shutdown -- immigration hearings in Louisiana and across the rest of the country are taking longer to get to than ever before.

Several U.S. immigration courts are currently closed and unable to process or handle the individuals who are waiting. These closures have largely affected those whose status is currently in limbo, leaving tens of thousands of individuals unsure of their future. This includes those who are potentially facing deportation proceedings since these individuals are usually not detained during the process.

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.