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New Orleans Louisiana Immigration and Naturalization Law Blog

Has the US government called you to a Stokes interview?

When you emigrated from another country to Louisiana, you likely felt great anticipation about your new life in the United States. Perhaps, you were joyful because you were planning to marry the love of your life. Maybe you also felt a certain amount of fear or trepidation knowing you would likely encounter numerous challenges as you adapted to a new lifestyle.

Regardless of how much time has passed between then and now, if, at some point, the U.S. government sent you a notice to appear at a Stokes interview, you might be feeling worried, confused and stressed. Otherwise known as a marriage interview, the purpose of such meetings is to determine whether a marriage in question is legitimate. If you fail the test, you may be at risk for deportation.

Why learning English may help you avoid immigration problems

It's not uncommon to struggle with a language barrier when you arrive in Louisiana or elsewhere in the United States from another country of origin. Whether you prepared for months ahead of time or showed up at a border to seek asylum in an urgent situation, how well you can speak, understand, read and write English may have a significant impact on your ability to accomplish your immigration goals.

If you hope to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you'll have to take a test. The test will include exercises in English, which is another reason it pays to try to become fluent in the language. Perhaps, you'll have to attend an immigration interview. If you don't have a translator and can't understand what the interviewer is saying, things might not go well. The good news is support is available in many forms.

Adjusting your status to permanent US resident

Despite the media coverage related to the immigration policies of the United States, the government offers numerous paths for foreign nationals to live, work, travel and study in this country. You may have taken advantage of one of these visa programs to lawfully enter the U.S. and obtain temporary residency in Louisiana. While the process can be challenging and the wait can be frustrating, the benefits available to you when you reach your goal are often worth the trouble.

In fact, you may feel so strongly about the positive changes in your life since you gained temporary residency in the U.S. that you are considering adjusting your immigration status from temporary to permanent residency through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services green card program. You may be relieved to know that if you qualify, you will not have to return to your home country to complete the adjustment process.

How do I become a naturalized citizen?

Living and working in the United States is a dream for many people around the world. Opportunities for education, business, success and other goals abound in the U.S. That’s why so many people come here and seek permanent residency.

If, after having your green card for some time, you wish to more fully participate in the American democracy, you may wish to apply to become a naturalized citizen. Before making that decision, it is good to first fully understand the process.

How can immigrants prove asylum or refugee status?

Many immigrants live in constant fear when they have left their home country to enter the United States. The fear is more than what accompanies a major life transition, it is one that grips their life as they desperately cling to the mercy of a new country. These types of immigrants are in serious need of protection from the nation they have left behind.

Asylum and refugee seeking immigrants have no other hope than the country they have fled to for protection. America has historically received countless individuals and families escaping serious threat in their homeland. But how do local officials examine the petitions of immigrants seeking asylum or refugee status?

What types of family visa are available for immigrants?

With all the talk of immigration and families, here’s a primer on family-based immigration and how it works.

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor family members to get permanent residence, also known as a “green card.” Family visas account for about 65 percent of legal immigration each year.

Helping relatives come to the United States

Family members are some of the most important connections in a person's life. Spending time and sharing experiences with family are opportunities to cherish when possible, but not everyone can do so with family living far away.

For those people living in the U.S. but with family in other countries, it's a challenge to wonder how life could be with family closer and potentially in a safer environment. U.S. citizens have options to help facilitate legally bringing family members into the country. It's important to know which family members you may be able to help and what the government requires of both you and the relatives seeking entry into the country.

Understanding which visas you need for international employees

Movement toward a global economy is making even small business owners think on an international level. When your work force must flow between borders, it is critical to make sure that your paperwork and visas are handled with care. Even a minor clerical error can mean major legal issues later.

Employee immigration is complicated. Even something as simple as understanding which type of visa is required for an international worker to be granted access to the country can quickly become confusing. These are a few of the most common temporary work visas American businesses may obtain on behalf of their employees.

ICE enforcement continues to grow

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been busy lately. Federal immigration agents visited over 120 businesses over the last five days (Feb. 12 –16, 2018) looking to crack down on the hiring of undocumented workers. In 2017, ICE conducted a total of 1,300 of these workplace audits. In many cases, workers stop showing up to work fearing ICE would arrest them during these audits.

Employers face civil fines and criminal prosecution for employing undocumented workers. ICE expects a 300 percent increase in the amount of workplace audits in 2018.

Louisiana Man Fights Deportation To Stay With His Family

Jose Torres, a husband and father of two young children, is in an uncertain limbo in a New Orleans church. He sought sanctuary there to avoid deportation so he can continue to be with his family. Originally from El Salvador, he immigrated to the United States to work in the construction trade after Hurricane Katrina.

Increasing Deportations, Growing Fears


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