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Jacksonville Immigration Blog

New policy may hinder immigrants

Those who try to immigrate to Florida can be denied a visa or green card if there are mistakes on their applications. The new policy started on Sept. 11, and it replaces the old policy that required individuals to receive notices of any errors on their applications. While they may still receive one, there is no obligation on the part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to do so.

This could mean that immigrants who are in the United States on a valid visa might not get it renewed in time, which might result in the start of deportation proceedings. Individuals who are going through the process of receiving a visa or green card could be forced to spend more time and money completing it. According to USCIS, individuals were submitting frivolous applications to obtain extra time to remain in the country without penalty.

Government to challenge Flores agreement

Florida residents may have heard about the Flores agreement, which led to the resolution of a 1997 court case. It says that immigrant children can only be kept in detention facilities for about 20 days. However, the Trump administration has announced that it is going to try to get around that arrangement. It is part of the administration's efforts to enact a zero tolerance policy as it relates to immigration.

The Flores agreement was seen as a legal hurdle as it related to keeping immigrant parents in custody. If the children had to be released, it generally meant that the parents needed to be released as well to keep families together. A recent attempt to separate parents from their children after crossing the border resulted in condemnation both domestically and internationally. Those who advocate for immigrant rights are against any change that would keep children in custody beyond the time frame allowed by law.

Understanding how to keep your green card in Florida

Immigrating to the United States can be a difficult and lengthy process. It often takes years to establish permanent citizenship, but obtaining a green card is often the initial goal for many.

While a green card is one of the best ways to stay in the United States on a long-term basis, there are reasons why your green card could be in danger of being revoked. If you are worried about losing your green card status, it is important that you take the time to learn about the most relevant aspects of employment law.

Border birth records causing denial and revocation of passports

A sudden increase in the U.S. Department of State denying passports to citizens has raised concerns among citizens and immigrants in Florida. The newly aggressive moves by the State Department have even included revoking passports previously issued to citizens because they were born near the Mexico border.

The questioning of birth record legitimacy started during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama because some midwives in the Rio Grande Valley admitted to making fraudulent birth records that showed U.S. births. Many of the same birth attendants also produced legitimate birth records. A lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union mostly resolved the matter in 2009, but the State Department under the Trump Administration has taken up this issue again.

Artists' visas could be more difficult to obtain

When people in Florida organize cultural events, they may often want to invite artists and performers from around the world. However, around all of the news about the Trump administration's immigration crackdown, it may not come as a surprise that many event organizers around the country are reporting ongoing problems securing visas for their international guests. Dancers from the Paris and Bolshoi ballets have been denied artist visas to the United States as have South Korean dancers from another troupe.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decides whether to issue a petition approval notice, which it then gives to the State Department to issue a visa to overseas performers. While some wonder if the problems securing visas for artists are related to political moves around immigration, others say that the department is overburdened with increased work, leading to lengthy delays that could prevent a performance from happening. However, immigration attorneys say that the bar has risen to obtain an initial artist visa or renew an existing one.

Judge orders action in separated families case

The debate over immigration in Florida and around the country has heated up in recent months in response to media stories about families of undocumented immigrants being separated and children being placed in detention facilities. The Trump administration subsequently bowed to public pressure and put an end to the controversial program. However, a new row has developed over the zealousness with which immigrants detained while it was in effect are being deported.

Many of the families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border were fleeing widespread violence in Central America or the Caribbean, and advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union claim that they are being deported back to extremely dangerous situations when they could be pursuing asylum claims in the United States. The ACLU was prompted to take legal action when it was learned that many parents had been deported while their children remained in America.

ACLU accuses immigration agents of entrapping people illegally

Some Florida residents obtain their documentation to stay in the United States legally through marriage to a citizen. Federal regulations established during the Obama administration allow undocumented people to live with citizen spouses while pursuing their green cards. Despite the legality of this process, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of allegedly undermining this right. According to court filings, these two organizations within the Department of Homeland Security have been conspiring to arrest and deport people engaged in the lawful process of green card applications.

The lawsuit cited emails obtained from immigration officials that appear to discuss coordinating the arrests of green card applicants during their routine immigration interviews. The undocumented people arrive for what they think will be a discussion about their application and then ICE agents take them away.

You must protect yourself from immigration fraud

Working toward your immigration goals is a difficult process, with many opportunities for complications to arise. Add to this the political tensions around immigration and the many parties seeking to take advantage of immigrants, and it is a wonder that anyone is able to achieve their immigration goals at all.

Unfortunately, not all people who claim to help with your immigration troubles are trustworthy, and many of them may use your vulnerability as an immigrant for their own purposes, usually a quick buck at the expense of a good person trying to play by the rules. This is not a "normal part of the process," it is immigration fraud.

Investor visa program set to expire in weeks

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is set to expire on Sept. 30, and there are calls to change the requirements for earning one. Currently, someone willing to invest in businesses located in Georgia or other states can obtain a green card. The minimum investment is either $500,000 or $1 million depending on where the funds are used. However, some say that the amounts should be increased to $1.35 and $1.8 million.

The current investment thresholds were set in 1990, and they have not been increased to account for inflation since then. It is also claimed that fraud is a problem with the EB-5 program. For instance, there have been claims that developers either steal an investor's money or use it for purposes outside of the program. However, a representative from Fakhoury Global Immigration says that the fear is exaggerated.

Migrant families may not all be reunited

By July 25, the federal government was required to have all migrant children and parents who were separated to be reunited. As of July 22, the government said that 879 parents had been reunited with their kids while another 538 were cleared to rejoin their children. However, there were more than 450 parents who had been deported prior to getting their sons or daughters back.

The ACLU claims that some may have been misled or coerced into signing away the right to remain in the country. Conversely, if they did choose to remain in the United States, they would be kept in custody away from their children while their cases worked through the legal system. In addition to parents who have been deported, the government said others are ineligible for reunification for various other reasons. Those reasons include having a communicable disease or a criminal record.

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