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Boulder Immigration And Naturalization Law Blog

Marriage as a pathway to legal status

Colorado residents have likely heard that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is in flux. Those who are part of the program and are looking for a way to stay in the United States may have considered marrying a United States citizen. While this may make it easier to get a green card and stay in the country as a permanent resident, it may not help everyone.

For instance, someone who leaves the United States and tries to reenter may be considered undocumented even if that person participates in DACA. If a person commits a crime such a fraud after entering the program, marrying a citizen may not help his or her cause. However, those participating in DACA may have had access to advanced parole. This allows individuals to return to their country of origin and then reenter the United States at a later date.

DACA deal may be worked out soon

Colorado residents are likely aware that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will expire if not extended by Congress. Although action to pass the DREAM Act has failed in the past, lawmakers from both parties are now working on a way to resolve the situation. It is thought that the need to pass government funding by Jan. 19 may create leverage to get some sort of a deal done.

President Trump has tied any resolution regarding DACA to funding for his proposed border wall. Whether a DACA deal gets done may also hinge somewhat on decisions made by leading Democrats. Some in the party would prefer to get a funding deal done sooner rather than later. Republicans have said that it may be possible to wait until March to create a permanent solution to the DACA question.

Will climate change lead to a new definition of refugees?

Under international law, a person may claim refugee status is they are escaping a war zone in their home country or if they would face persecution (based on religion, race, political affiliation etc.) by returning to their home country. The United States follows the same guidelines in determining refugee status eligibility. But what does this mean for people displaced by climate change?

A recent report by the United National High Commission for Refugees indicates that more than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced in the last year. Only 22.5 million of them were classified as refugees. New research indicates that temperature spikes in agricultural regions of developing countries have made these areas uninhabitable and resulted in a parallel increase in asylum seekers in Europe. In addition, natural disasters displaced more than 24 million people in 2016. However, such migrants do not qualify for refugee protection under international law.

Knowing where to seek support may help you avoid these worries

As an immigrant living and working in Colorado, you may face various types of challenges that the average U.S. citizen is not likely to encounter in his or her own daily life. Without intending any sort of stereotype, there may be certain issues that cause you stress and worry as an immigrant, especially if you're one of many whose paperwork is not in order.

Whether you recently settled into your current living arrangements or have resided in this state for a decade or more, you may have already overcome some difficult situations that made you worry about your current legal status and potential risk for removal. Knowing how to protect your rights and where to access immediate help when needed are two key factors to keep your stress levels to a minimum and avoid major immigration problems.

De-stress your K1 visa process

No matter where your country of origin happens to be, if you intend to marry and start a new life in Colorado, as an immigrant you will likely face several challenges along your journey. Getting married is definitely a cause of joy for most people and your wedding day is something you'll want to have fond memories of in years to come. The last thing you need is to face major visa problems or other immigration obstacles that could delay or prevent your entrance to the United States.

As with most immigration processes, the K1 visa system is often complicate to navigate if you are not familiar with the way things work. If you have another family member or close friend who has already successfully applied for and obtained a fiancé visa, as it's sometimes called, you may be able to seek information that can help you avoid problems and can prepare you for what lies ahead.

The difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visas

If you plan to enter the United States from another country of origin, that means you need an immigrant visa, right? Perhaps, although it would depend on your particular purpose for wanting to come to Colorado -- or whichever state in which you planned to reside. U.S. immigration law is quite complex and often changes. The last thing you need is to violate some sort of regulation and find yourself locked up in a detention center, awaiting a removal hearing.

Much confusion and stress (and legal trouble) can typically be avoided if you seek clarification of existing immigration laws ahead of time, and make sure you apply for the appropriate one (in the proper way) according to your immediate needs and long-term goals.

Are you eligible for a green card?

Some people living in Colorado as immigrants waited years to enter the United States. If you are currently trying to navigate the process to obtain a green card, you may find that, some days, you have more questions than answers. As with most U.S. immigration law topics, applying for a green card can be quite complicated and overwhelming. To begin with, not everyone is eligible for non-citizen permanent residency. Beyond knowing that green cards are called such because of their color, you may lack information needed to apply.

There are many support networks available for someone in your situation. Knowing where to turn for help is often half the battle won. Consequently, there are also a lot of scams where people try to take advantage of immigrants like you by promising to expedite the green card application process or secure a visa for payment. While there are typically fees involved in such processes, you should be wary as such fees would be part of the application process and not requested from a particular individual.

The next step after receiving a green card through marriage

Receiving conditional resident status in the United States was a happy side effect of your marriage. In fact, going through the channels to obtain your status in this country may have been one element that delayed your marriage or at least created a bit of extra tension during your preparations. However, the benefits you gained were worth the stress.

You are likely aware of the conditions that exist on your green card and the reasons for these conditions. Now that you have shown that your marriage was in good faith, you are ready to take the steps necessary for the removal of those conditions.

How to not mess up your immigration interview

There are any number of reasons immigration officials may request your presence at an interview. Since you arrived in Colorado to live (whether that was last week or 10 years ago), you've likely been putting forth every effort to acclimate yourself to a new lifestyle, as well as all the customs and traditions in the United States. If you emigrated from a country of origin where there is much poverty, violence and danger, life here may have come as a bit of a culture shock to you.

It's only natural for you to feel overwhelmed and face many challenges as you build a new life in a new place. You didn't come all this way, however, just for someone to say you cannot stay. Therefore, if you have to appear at an immigration interview, you'll want to make sure you know what to expect and how to act (and not act) ahead of time.

As a victim of crime, you might be able to avoid removal

The last thing you expected when you were walking through the parking lot at a Colorado shopping center was that you would become victim to a crime. Although you may have been grateful that you survived and your injuries were non-life threatening, you may have suffered economic loss as well if the person who assaulted you got away with your wallet. Do you hesitate to tell police about the incident because you're worried about your legal status? You may want to learn more about the U Visa process.

A U Visa provides temporary protected status to people in your situation. As with most government programs, there are eligibility requirements you must satisfy before you can apply. This visa is not permanent; so, you'd have to apply for renewal when it expires.

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