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Obtaining a visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate can be a lengthy process due to several reasons:

1. High Demand: The United States is one of the most sought-after destinations for travel, work, study, and migration.  The high demand means a large number of applications, which can lead to backlogs.

2. Security Concerns: Post 9/11, the U.S. visa process has become more stringent to ensure national security.  Every visa application undergoes rigorous security checks to prevent potential threats from entering the country.

Birthright citizenship, often referred to as jus soli which means “right of the soil” in Latin, is a policy by which individuals are granted citizenship of a country simply by being born within its territorial boundaries, irrespective of the citizenship or immigration status of their parents.  In the United States, birthright citizenship is a foundational principle enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  It has played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s demographics, sense of identity, and commitment to civil rights.  To fully understand this concept, it’s vital to delve into its historical context, implications, and the ongoing debates surrounding it.

Historical Context

The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”  This amendment was adopted in the aftermath of the American Civil War as a direct response to the infamous and shameful Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which the Supreme Court ruled that African Americans could not be considered U.S. citizens.  The 14th Amendment thus served as a powerful repudiation of that ruling, ensuring that all individuals born in the U.S., especially the formerly enslaved, were granted the rights and privileges of citizenship.

At BestImmigrationLawyer.com, we often get inquiries from Canadian citizens wanting to know if they can get a visa that will allow them to live and work in the United States on a full-time basis. The answer to that question is “yes.”

The easiest way for Canadians to live and work in the United States is through the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.  The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows an individual from a treaty country (a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the U.S. when they are investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

Here’s what it takes to qualify for an E-2 visa:

Nevada is a state that is well-known for its vibrant cities and remarkable landscapes.  From the bright lights of Las Vegas to the beauty of Red Rock Canyon and the stunning greenery of Northern Nevada, this state has something for everyone.  Nevada is also a state with a rich history of immigration that has strongly shaped its cultural, economic, and demographic profile.  From the early influx of European explorers and miners to the more recent arrival of immigrants from Latin America and Asia, Nevada’s immigration story is a vital component of its identity.  And its a story that continues to be written given the rapidly evolving nature of this state.

Nevada’s immigration history traces its roots back to the mid-19th century during the famous Comstock Lode silver strike of 1859, an episode in history which attracted droves of miners and prospectors from different parts of the United States and the world.  The mining boom catalyzed the state’s early growth and set the stage for Nevada’s inclusion as a state in 1864.  The mid-1800s era also an influx of European immigrants, predominantly from Ireland, England, and Germany, seeking to benefit from Nevada’s booming mining industry.  During this same period, one of the most distinct group of settlers to Nevada were the Basque community that made a significant mark in Northern Nevada.

Notably, Chinese immigrants were also part of this mining-driven migration.  Like many other groups, they were drawn by the prospects of the “Gold Mountain” as the Western United States was often referred to.  By the late 19th century, Nevada had a significant Chinese population.  Despite facing discrimination and exclusionary policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, these early Chinese immigrants contributed significantly to the state’s development through their labor in mines, railroads, and agriculture.

This is a question we are often asked at BestImmigrationLawyer.com.  That is, can a person can work in the United States after applying for asylum. The simple answer is, not immediately, but yes, an asylum seeker can work in the U.S., after meeting certain conditions set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals who have arrived in the United States (U.S.) and who credibly fear persecution in their home country based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Once an individual has applied for asylum, they must wait approximately 150-days after the USCIS receives their completed asylum application before they can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a “work permit.”  If the asylum application remains pending after 180-days, counting from the 150-day mark, the applicant becomes eligible to receive a work permit while waiting for a decision on their asylum status.  However, it should be noted, these waiting periods only apply if the asylum application is not acted upon (i.e. decided) by the USCIS. If, on the other hand, the application is granted, the individual becomes an asylee and is immediately authorized to work.

Many clients often ask, why is there a 150-day waiting period in the first place? The reason is because the government doesn’t want people coming to the United States for economic reasons instead of those reasons (i.e. race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group) that would normally support asylum. In other words, the waiting period is a way of discouraging economic migration.  The processing time also allows USCIS sufficient time to properly investigate, assess and process asylum applications.

Immigration policy has always been a critical and controversial issue in American politics.  Not a day goes by when there isn’t some news story dealing with immigration issues.  With the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, there has been a significant shift in policies and priorities. In this post, the legal team at BestImmigrationLawyer.com highlights some of the most significant changes in immigration policy under President Biden compared to President Trump.

1. The “Zero Tolerance” Policy

The “Zero Tolerance” policy was one of the signature cornerstones of the Trump administration’s approach to immigration issues.  This policy led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the United States/Mexico border.  Under this controversial policy, persons who crossed the border without inspection or authorization were criminally prosecuted.  This resulted in thousands of families being separated.  However, upon assuming office, the Biden administration issued an executive order terminating President Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy and created a task force to start reunifying families that had been separated as a result of this policy.  President Biden has since stated that he intends to focus on the root causes of migration from Central America and reforming the nation’s asylum process.

Deportation is the process of removing a foreign national from the United States due to violations of immigration laws.  Although there are many different grounds for deportation, this blog discusses the three most common reasons which include the following:

1. Violation of immigration laws:  This category includes a wide range of issues, such as entering the United States without proper documents, overstaying the authorized length of a visa or violating the terms of a person’s authorized status.  For example, someone who enters the U.S. on a tourist visa but then starts working without first obtaining work authorization from the government could face deportation for violation of immigration laws.

2. Criminal convictions:  Non-citizens, including legal permanent residents (“green card” holders), can be removed from the United States if they are convicted of certain crimes.  The list of deportable offenses is quite extensive and includes both misdemeanors and felonies, such as crimes involving moral turpitude, drug offenses, firearms offenses, aggravated felonies, and domestic violence.  The severity of the crime and the individual’s criminal history can affect the likelihood of deportation.

A “U” visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to victims of certain crimes (e.g. rape, assault, attempted murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, involuntary servitude, domestic violence, stalking) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse.  The crime (which must have occurred in the United States or in violation of U.S. laws) must be serious and generally violent in nature.  Further, to be eligible for a U visa, a victim of a crime must be willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.  The U visa was created by the United States Congress as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) in 2000 to encourage victims to report crimes without fear of deportation and to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute certain criminal cases.

To be eligible for a U visa, an individual must:

1. Be a victim of a qualifying criminal activity that occurred in the United States or in violation of U.S. laws.

Have you ever wondered about how the current American immigration system came into being?  Today’s blog post is intended to give you a short history of American immigration laws.  It’s fascinating to see how these policies have evolved over time.  At BestImmigrationLawyer.com, we think you’ll find it quite interesting to learn about the history of our nation’s immigration system.

Let’s start with the early days.  Back in the 18th and 19th centuries American immigration was pretty much a free-for-all.  People from all over Europe were arriving in the United States seeking new opportunities and a better life.  For the most part, there were no restrictions on who could come in to the country and immigration was seen as a way to boost the population and the workforce.  However, as the country grew and changed, so did the attitudes towards immigration.  The first major immigration law in the United States was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur.  This act was pretty much what it sounds like—it prohibited Chinese laborers from immigrating to the US for ten years.  Shamefully, this law came into being because there was a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment and prejudice during that time, fueled by fears of job competition and the belief that the Chinese were “unassimilable.”  But the Chinese Exclusion Act was just the beginning.

In the early 20th century, the nation saw the introduction of a quota system with respect to immigration.  The 1921 Emergency Quota Act and the 1924 Immigration Act put numerical limits on immigration and favored people from Western and Northern European countries.  These laws were rooted in a desire to maintain the country’s ethnic and racial makeup, and they discriminated against people from Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as other parts of the world.

In the United States, immigration judges play a crucial role in the country’s immigration system, presiding over cases that determine the fate of millions of individuals seeking asylum, protection, and the right to stay in the country.  Given the important role judges play in the immigration system, you might be wondering how immigration judges get selected.  Immigration judges are appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) through a rigorous selection process that prioritizes legal expertise, impartiality, and ethical conduct.

The selection process for immigration judges involves several steps, including identification of a need for judges, solicitation of applications, evaluation and ranking of applicants, interviews, and final appointment.  These steps ensure that only the most qualified and competent candidates are appointed to the immigration courts.

1. Identification of Need: The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a sub-agency within the DOJ, oversees the country’s immigration courts.  The EOIR identifies the need for new immigration judges based upon factors such as caseload, retirements, and changes in immigration policies or laws.  Once a need is identified, the EOIR works with the DOJ to initiate the hiring process.

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