U.S. Immigration law is extremely complex. The challenging rules, the documentation requirements, and the lengthy and difficult application processes for obtaining visas, getting permission to work in the USA, obtaining a permanent resident status (a “green” card”), and becoming a naturalized, United States citizen are very strict.
An average person, especially one who is not a native English speaker, will have an extremely difficult time trying to get through any of these legal application processes on their own.
If you make one mistake in the paperwork and do not follow the process perfectly, this can cause years of delays, result in a denial of the application, and/or in the worst-case scenario cause deportation.
For almost every immigration case, it is important to have competent legal counsel to represent you. This is especially true for those who do not have legal status to be in the United States, those that are under arrest, and anyone who faces deportation proceedings for any reason.
If you or a loved one has any immigration problems or questions, contact us right away for a free case evaluation. You do not have to face this challenge alone. We are ready to stand by you and help you.
Here are some examples of immigration issues that we work with:
The American Immigration Council notes that for many undocumented persons in the United States there is no reasonable way to advance towards legal status. Immigration law in America is in desperate need of reform. That is why it is so important to have an attorney represent you in your immigration case.
One of the most important efforts we undertake is to help our clients apply for a green card to become a legal, permanent resident.
An Application May be Made for a Green Card Based on these Criteria:
- Because of other family members’ legal status to live and work in the USA
- Having a U.S. company’s sponsorship for employment as a highly skilled worker
- Getting an EB-5 business visa that converts to a green card by investing a minimum of $500,000 ($1,000,000 in some areas) in the United States
- Immigrating as a refugee
- Applying for political asylum
- Winning a visa that leads to a green card through the annual diversity lottery
California Law vs. U.S. Federal Law
California laws differ significantly from Federal laws in how they affect undocumented persons living in California. The laws change often, so please be sure to contact us for the most recent news about potential updates.
Here Are Some Considerations
Local Law Enforcement of Legal Status
There is no law in California requiring police officers to check immigration status during routine traffic stops. However, many local and county law enforcement agencies now look for immigration-related offenses. Anyone under arrest is fingerprinted and has his or her legal status checked with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
E-Verify Checks for Employment
Under Federal law, employers must verify the legal status of employees. There is an electronic system called E-Verify that does this efficiently. Under new California law, employers may choose not to use the E-Verify system; however, they can choose to use it voluntarily. State agencies, as well as municipal governments of cities and counties, now cannot require private employers to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm the legal immigration status of workers they hire, with the exception of when it is required by federal law or is a condition of receiving federal funds. Before the new California law was passed, several cities and municipalities within the state of California required the use of E-Verify for either city contractors or all businesses within city limits. Private employers may still choose to voluntarily use the E-verify system, but local cities and municipalities may no longer require use of E-verify.
Any California resident, regardless of immigrant status, can now obtain a driver’s license.
Under both Federal and California law, a person must be a legal resident of the United States with proof of birth and legal status in order to vote.
Tuition at California’s Public Colleges and Universities
Under the recently passed DREAM Act, undocumented students in California, without proof of legal status, qualify for the lower tuition rates given to state residents. Under other legislation, they can apply for California financial aid programs.
Professional licensing is available to all qualified applicants in California. The license review boards do not consider immigration status.
Public Assistance is Restricted
Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving public assistance, except for emergency medical services.
California has some healthcare programs for undocumented adults who need medical assistance. Health care is available for all undocumented children in California.