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Boulder Colorado Immigration And Naturalization Legal Blog

H-1B application period coming in April 2019

Companies in California who want to hire skilled professionals from outside the United States may need to act urgently. The H-1B visa program allows businesses inside the U.S. to hire workers from abroad with specialized knowledge, and it is frequently used in the technology, medical and other scientific industries. However, the filing season for H-1B visas in 2020 begins on April 1, 2019, and the slots tend to fill up quickly. These applications are for sponsoring full-time H-1B employees during the coming fiscal year, which will run from October 2019 through September 2020.

Because of the flood of applications received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the filing window for an H-1B visa typically lasts for only one week or even less. In April 2018, the agency closed the filing period after only five days, having reached its maximum number of applications. Before filing an H-1B petition, a company must obtain a labor condition application (LCA) from the federal Department of Labor, a process that takes a week to 10 days. The LCA includes location and wage administration about the proposed H-1B job. Companies should obtain an LCA before March 15 in order to be prepared for the April filing period.

Seeking permanent residency for a relative

If you are a citizen of the U.S., chances are that you want to share your freedoms and privileges with your family members. The government offers many opportunities for immediate family members of citizens to obtain green cards, allowing them to live permanently in the U.S., seek employment and receive most of the same benefits as a U.S. citizen.

One advantage to seeking a green card for a family member is that it is generally a much easier process than most other immigration procedures. If your family member has no bars to his or her admissibility, the process is a matter of completing the correct forms and following the required steps. However, it is important to have a good understanding of the immigration laws and rules before you begin.

Studying and working in the U.S. for immigrants

According to a study from the Pew Research Center, the United States has more highly-educated immigrants than any other country in the world. In states like California, these immigrants attend universities and have prestigious positions at tech companies in Silicon Valley. Surveys suggest that a majority of the American people want even more highly educated immigrants to come to the country. There are a few pathways these individuals have to get to the U.S.

The H-1B visa program is one of the largest immigration pathways for individuals who have a specialized skill or a college degree. It's a temporary program for employment and residency that's given to employers rather than immigrants themselves. There are a lot more applicants for H-1Bs than there are spots available, creating very long waits for immigrants coming from China and India. Those with graduate degrees from U.S. institutions are given priority.

Immigration interview: Your words and actions affect outcome

You likely had a million thoughts running through you mind when you started your new life in Colorado. As an immigrant, you understood that you might encounter numerous challenges as you adjusted to the culture here. What you didn't expect is that the U.S. government would suspect you of fraud and call your legal status into question.

Receiving a summons for interview from immigration officials is enough to cause anyone stress. Knowing that results may ultimately impede your ability to stay in the United States intensifies the worry. However, it's always a good idea to learn as much as you can about the process ahead of time and to remain as calm as possible. Knowing where to seek legal support in a pinch is also often a key factor toward accomplishing your immigration goals.

New policy for migrants seeking asylum in U.S.

Beginning in late January 2019, the U.S. government will start sending some asylum seekers who show up at the border entry point in San Ysidro, California, back to Mexico as their asylum claims are being processed. They will only be allowed to enter the country for their court appearances for the duration of the asylum process. Certain parties, such as those with fear of being in Mexico and families with young children, will still be allowed to stay in the U.S. during the process.

In a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security, officials stated that their reasoning behind the change in the asylum process is to reduce the flow of mass migration at the southern border. The Trump administration is expected to roll out the new policy slowly to help refine the process before expanding it. Transpiration for court appearances will be handled by ICE, the agency that's also responsible for arresting undocumented people throughout the country.

Could you lose your naturalized citizenship?

As someone who came all the way to Colorado from a different country, you likely faced a long and difficult journey to get here. Once here, you made your life and possibly even started a family, but still, simply having permanent residency did not feel like enough. As a result, you pursued the path of becoming a naturalized citizen and were successful.

Reaching this goal was undoubtedly a major milestone in your life, and you may believe that you will hold your U.S. citizenship for the rest of your life. However, would it surprise you to learn that the government could revoke your citizenship?

How to decide which asylum form to file

Immigrants who are applying for asylum in California or anywhere else in the United States will file either an affirmative or defensive application. Those who are filing an affirmative asylum application must do so within a year of the last time that they arrived in America. Furthermore, they must be in the United States when they apply for asylum. After filing Form I-589 with the United States Custom and Immigration Services (USCIS), a hearing will be scheduled.

An officer may either approve the application or send it to an immigration judge. Those who have been selected for removal will file a defensive asylum application. At a court hearing, the applicant may be able to offer evidence as to why he or she should stay in the country. An attorney could represent an individual at such a hearing, and an attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will also present an argument.

Problems re public versus private immigration detention centers

If a U.S. immigration officer takes you or your loved one into custody, the next days, weeks or months of your life may be quite stressful. Depending on the exact circumstances surrounding your case, you or your family member may be at great risk for removal. Whether you sought asylum at a U.S. border or have been living and working in Colorado for years, overcoming legal status problems isn't easy.

There have reportedly been serious problems in many of the nation's immigration detention centers. Sadly, some problems involve immigrant fatalities that advocates claim might have been preventable were it not for the negligence of immigration officials at those facilities. The more you know about U.S. immigration law and what to expect if you or your loved one face detention, the likelier you'll be able to access support to rectify a problem situation.

Government shutdown impacting immigration policy

According to the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), there have been 42,726 immigration court hearings canceled because of the U.S. government shutdown. Immigrants in California and throughout the country have waited as long as four years to have those hearings. There will likely be another long wait for a hearing as there are more than 800,000 cases waiting to be heard. It's unclear if this will be a good or bad thing for those individuals.

Some may relish the chance of being able to push a hearing back until following the next presidential election. However, others may worry about the pressure to self-deport until their cases have been heard by a judge. The shutdown is not the only reason why the immigration case backlog has swelled. However, some believe that President Trump was not ready for the secondary impacts that it has had on the country.

Before seeking asylum, make sure you understand the process

Many immigrants currently residing in Colorado made their journeys to the United States through the asylum process. If you're hoping that the U.S. will grant you protection so that you can leave a life of poverty or danger behind, you should know several things before you file an application. It is important to learn as much as you can ahead of time because doing the wrong thing can delay your application or prompt the U.S. government to deny your petition.  

If you have a loved one or close friend who has already successfully navigated the asylum process, you can contact him or her and ask for advice regarding what types of things your friend or family member thinks you should avoid or issues that may be imperative to accomplishing your goals. You can also reach out for legal support as needed.  

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