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Protections against deportation in US immigration law

Securing a visa to travel to or live in the United States is an incredible opportunity, and immigrants who choose to spend their time in Louisiana often enjoy everything the state has to offer. However, having a visa does not necessarily protect an individual from deportation. For people who want to be certain that they have the full rights of U.S. residency, here are some important highlights from U.S. immigration law.

The immigration system is notoriously slow in processing applications and renewals. Since immigrants should be aware of when their visas or green cards expire, it is a good idea to submit applications as early as possible. Once a person's visa or green card has expired, he or she can be arrested and deported. Demonstrating that an individual has already submitted a request for renewal is not sufficient protection from these actions.

US immigration law: What is an extreme hardship waiver?

It is possible for some undocumented immigrants who have been living in Louisiana to become legal residents. This is sometimes accomplished by voluntarily leaving the United States and then serving a reentry ban for a period of 10 years. Not everyone can safely or realistically leave the country for 10 years, though. An extreme hardship waiver can possibly help immigrants in this situation.

The extreme hardship waiver -- also known as a 601 waiver -- can help a person delay a deportation order while adjusting his or her immigration status. This waiver does not guarantee that a person will be able to gain permanent legal residence, though. There are also a number of reasons for which a person may not qualify for the 601 waiver, such as living undocumented in the United States for a period of longer than a year.

Employment immigration tricky for international students

Summer break is usually the perfect opportunity for college students to work a part time job and earn a little extra cash. This situation is a little trickier for international students who are studying at Louisiana universities. Similar to other forms of employment immigration, students must apply for separate visas in order to work during school breaks. A recent delay in these applications is leaving some of these students without the opportunity to work.

International students can legally work in the United States through the Optional Practical Training program. This gives students the ability to work for as long as a year so long as the field is related to their area of study. Students can only apply for authorization through the program 90 days prior to their start date. In the past, wait times never exceeded 90 days. Current projected wait times are five months.

What's going on with family immigration?

Helping loved ones successfully immigrate to the United States is a priority for many immigrants who are already living here in Louisiana. As it currently stands, family immigration is a cornerstone of the process. However, changes that would compromise the success of family immigration could be on the horizon.

President Trump recently announced a proposal that would shift the focus away from family immigration to a more merit-based system in which applicants would have to accrue points. This plan would prioritize those with certain skills and educational backgrounds over those who have family ties in the United States. For those who are still hoping to sponsor their family members, this new proposal may be extremely upsetting.

US immigration law gets much-needed technology update

No matter how well a person plans out the future, he or she can almost certainly count on change. For some immigrants in Louisiana, this means wanting to stay in the United States for longer than they are officially authorized. Individuals who are in this situation have options for staying in the country while also complying with U.S. immigration law.

Individuals who are in the country on nonimmigrant visas often end up in situations where they either want or need to stay longer than first anticipated. Rather than simply overstaying their visas and hoping for the best, these individuals should instead request stay extensions. Stay extensions are only intended for people who want to remain in the country to continue the same activities that their visas were originally approved for.

Social media now an important part of US immigration law

Social media is widely used and embraced by people from all walks of life and backgrounds. People use their social media accounts to post pictures of their kids, share details of their latest vacation and to connect with friends and family members. A lot of people even think of social media as unimportant, so what they do on it might not even matter. A recent update to U.S. immigration law could change how people in Louisiana view their social media usage.

Applying for a U.S. visa will now require a little more information than before. When applying for a visa, an applicant will likely be required to also submit his or her social media information. This includes things like usernames, old email addresses and previously used phone numbers. The change is expected to impact approximately 15 million people hoping to travel to the United States.

Is US permanent residency a path to citizenship?

U.S. immigration laws are complex. On top of being an already confusing set of laws, immigration has recently been under the pressure of significant scrutiny and ongoing change. This may have some permanent residents who are living in Louisiana feeling understandably worried about their future. Many may hope to obtain citizenship in the future. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to U.S. permanent residency and citizenship.

Becoming a permanent resident is an exciting experience for many immigrants. However, with so many different aspects of immigration up in the air right now, some permanent residents are ready to take the next step. The number of permanent residents in the United States applying for naturalization has sharply increased since shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Many of these people may be starting to realize that simply being a permanent resident is not enough to become a naturalized citizen.

Is the H-1B the only employment immigration option?

Working in the United States on an H-1B visa is an ideal situation for many people. Unfortunately, because of the limited number of H-1B visas that are available, many applicants are denied. Being denied for this type of visa does not mean it is the end of the road for individuals wanting to come to Louisiana through employment immigration, though. Here are a couple of options to consider.

There are only 85,000 H-1B visas made available every year, 20,000 of which are only for people who have earned master's degrees in the United States. The denial rate for this visa is 32%. However, if a person who was denied an H-1B visa can demonstrate an extraordinary skill in a fields like sports, the arts, education or business, he or she could qualify for an O1 visa instead. Those who were denied an H-1B visa because they did not meet the requirements might also find that the O1 visa is a better choice based on their skills and qualifications.

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.