Approximately 400 refugees were admitted to the United States in the third quarter of 2020. During the same time a year earlier, more than 9,000 refugees were admitted. The stark disparity indicates the severity of problems with the immigration system.
Immigration law is complex and often unpredictable. Language barriers and cultural differences add to the confusion. Those who seek to immigrate to the United States and those already here who want to change their status should not navigate the process alone.
At Corbaci Law, P.C., we work with individuals and families seeking a new start in the United States and people caught in the web of legal intricacies of immigration law. If you have questions or need help, we can put our experience and legal expertise to work for you.
We proudly serve clients throughout Woburn, Marlborough, Framingham, and Boston, Massachusetts. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
There are three ways immigrants may seek to legally remain in the United States.
A green card (or permanent residency card) is granted to lawful and permanent residents of the United States. There are a number of different paths for green card eligibility. You could be eligible through a family relationship, employment, if you were granted asylum or admitted as a refugee, being the victim of crime or abuse, religious or international workers, if you are someone who has resided in the country continuously since January 1, 1972, or other special circumstances.
Naturalization offers a way for certain people to become U.S. citizens. If you are 18 years of age or older and have been a permanent resident for at least five years, you can apply to become a U.S. citizen. You can also apply if you are age 18 or older, have been a permanent resident for three years, and are married to a U.S. citizen.
Consular processing occurs while living outside of the United States. You must apply for immigration via a petition. If approved, you will receive an immigration visa number and you may apply for a green card through the U.S. consulate. If you are already in the U.S. and are eligible to apply for a green card, you may be able to do so without returning to your home country by applying for an adjustment in status.
U.S. citizens may petition for family members to achieve legal status. Visas are always available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including their spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents if the petitioning U.S. citizen child is 21 years of age or older.
U.S. citizens may also petition for “preference relatives,” but the availability of these visas is limited to a specific number annually. Preference relatives include unmarried adult children 21 years of age and older, spouses of green card holders, unmarried children and adult children of permanent residents, married adult children of U.S. citizens, and siblings of adult U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens may petition for a green card for any immediate family members. If the immediate family member is already living in the country, they may be eligible to receive an adjustment of status and obtain a green card without needing to leave the U.S. during the processing of the petition. They may also file a petition for a visa for a spouse or fiancé residing outside of the U.S. and their children under 21 years of age.
Removal defense is legal representation or advocacy for someone facing deportation and appearing before an immigration judge in court.
There are ways cancellation of removal may be granted by the judge, including qualification for an adjustment of status and a green card based on family relationships or if you have resided in the country for 10 years or more.
Asylum is another way to avoid deportation. Asylum offers protection to people who fled persecution in another country. If granted, the grantee may obtain a work permit and later be eligible for a green card and permanent residency.
People who are deported may submit an Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission After Deportation or Removal. If successful, the deportee may receive a waiver that permits them to go through the process of admission to the U.S. legally.
There are special categories of visa eligibility for people who have experienced humanitarian crises. Nonimmigrant status may be granted to unlawful residents who cooperate with law enforcement. If they can produce evidence that they were victims of crime in their home country, they may be granted a U Visa. If they provide evidence of human trafficking, they may be granted a T Visa. These visas are active for four years. After three years, U and T visa holders may apply for permanent legal residency.
Noncitizen victims of domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse may self-petition for removal protection under the Violence Against Women Act. If approved, a work permit is issued, and the resident may apply for permanent legal residency.
Children aged 18 years and younger who have been subject to court proceedings in the U.S. for child abuse and neglect may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and seek lawful residency via adjustment of status.
The best route for people who wish to enter the U.S. legally, people without legal status who want to obtain it, and people who want to become a U.S. citizen is to retain the services of a team of experienced immigration attorneys. Language and cultural differences and the complications of U.S. immigration law make it nearly impossible for residents to obtain the status they want without the help of a lawyer.
At Corbaci Law, P.C., we have experienced firsthand the challenges of immigration. We have helped hundreds of immigrants and their family members facing residency, deportation, and citizenship challenges. If you are in the greater Boston, Framingham, Marlborough, or Woburn, Massachusetts areas and you have questions about immigration status, call us at our office today to schedule a confidential consultation.