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.
There are a lot of different ways to immigrate to the United States, but not all of them give people the opportunity to apply for citizenship one day. A new rule will make it much easier for one group of immigrants to get on that path. Liberians who have temporary legal status can now apply for U.S. permanent residency.
An immigrant visa number is necessary for becoming a permanent resident. Since the United States limits the availability of immigrant visa numbers both by year, and by country, those hoping to live in Louisiana and achieve permanent residency may feel frustrated with the process if they do not receive a number soon after applying. There is also a preference system for these numbers, so it is a good idea for a person to understand which preference he or she falls into.
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.
Those who were brought to the United States as children often face enormous struggles as they grow up. For many, it is difficult to be undocumented in the only home they have ever known. While many of the young adults in this situation in Louisiana applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, its uncertain future has some people unsure of what to do next or how to achieve permanent residency.
Immigrant rights are hotly discussed topic that does not always include factual information. Many immigrants in Louisiana struggle to separate fact from fiction, and remain unaware of their rights and protections. For those living in America under U.S. permanent residency, understanding those rights is essential to living full and productive lives.
If you married a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, your green card status may be conditional. This occurs whenever your lawful permanent residence status depends on a marriage that was less than two years old when that status was received.
In the past, immigration authorities often gave people a chance to regularize their immigrant status when faced with a deportation order. This was especially true when the order was old and the immigrant had a good chance of qualifying for legal status. For example, old deportation orders were often lifted when the immigrant was married to a U.S. citizen, as long as that marriage was validated by immigration authorities.
When President Trump chose to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last year, his legal team claimed that the administration needed to end the program. It was under threat of legal challenges brought by ten states, they said. A federal judge has just ruled that reasoning was in error.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said recently that the Trump administration may support a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. President Trump had previously said that he did not support citizenship as an option. Secretary Nielsen emphasized that no decision has yet been made -- and that building a border wall remains the administration's top priority.