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Los Angeles Immigration Law Blog

Defining marriage fraud

The idea of the American dream is something that millions of people aspire to, including countless people from other countries who hope to make it to America to build a better life. There are many ways that immigrants can relocate to Los Angeles and other parts of the country, including arriving on a work visa or obtaining their green card. These avenues are accessible and legal to many people; however, some foreigners may use other means of getting into the country that are less than legal.

One of these methods is by getting married to a United States citizen under false pretenses. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a legal citizen and an immigrant must be living in a real marital relationship with a genuine interest in building a life together, otherwise the marriage may be considered fraudulent. A fraudulent marriage can occur under any of the following conditions:

  • The immigrant pays or solicits help from a U.S. citizen to be get married in order to remain in the country.
  • A U.S. citizen participates in a “mail-order” marriage situation.
  • An immigrant leads a U.S. citizen to believe the marriage is real, until the period of time passes for gaining a green card or other legal documentation and the immigrant files for divorce.

What are some of the challenges new U.S. citizens face?

The milestone of gaining a U.S. citizenship is something that you have a right to celebrate. The application process and citizenship testing for immigrants in Los Angeles often come at the end of a lengthy, arduous and stressful period. While this is a happy time for you and your family, it does not necessarily mean the end of your troubles. In fact, you may continue to face much of the same misunderstandings and even discrimination that you endured while working toward your citizenship.

According to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you can face a number of economic and social challenges after passing your naturalization test. These challenges can be discouraging, especially after you’ve worked so hard to become a part of this country.

Numerous factors can lead to deportation

Life can be stressful and uncertain for anyone who lives in the country without having the proper legal documentation. However, even if you have a green card or a temporary visa that’s allowing you to live in the United States legally, you might still face the threat of deportation. The laws surrounding immigration and detention are often complex and can be difficult to understand. At Ronzio & Associates, we have a thorough knowledge of immigration law, as well as various factors that can result in your eventual deportation from Los Angeles.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are many ways in which you can end up facing deportation proceedings. Some of the most common include:

  • Committing marriage fraud
  • Being convicted of an aggravated felony
  • Violating the terms of a green card or visa
  • Not registering as a sex offender when required to do so
  • Being convicted of domestic violence, child abuse or stalking
  • Knowingly helping to smuggle someone else into the country illegally

Only 1,589 immigrants with convictions re-arrested out of 36,007

Families who come to the United States from other countries are usually looking for a fresh start. Many immigrants in Los Angeles as well as other areas across the country can face difficult challenges in the years following their immigration. These can include racial, housing and job discrimination, whether or not they have completed their documentation to allow them to stay in the country. The financial and emotional stresses of trying to fit into a foreign culture might lead some immigrants to make decisions that can lead to a criminal conviction, which in turn can threaten their right to remain in this country.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released information on numerous re-arrests involving immigrants. Out of 36,007 people who were released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2013, 1,589 have since been arrested again. Many of the charges involved relatively minor offenses such as drug offenses or drunk driving, although other arrests included assault, domestic violence and carjacking.

What family members can petition for immigration of relatives?

The United States has long been referred to as a melting pot of cultures. Residents represent cultures and nations from every part of the globe and immigration today continues to be an important part of our society. In Los Angeles alone, it is easy to see the variety of cultures in our daily lives as well as the reasons that may bring many people here. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service understands that when a person has family members in another country, the desire to be together is strong and, therefore, family immigration is way that some people are allowed legal entry into the country.

In order to petition for immigration for a relative, certain criteria must be met and proven. The first is that the person who will make the petition must be either a legal permanent resident of the United States or a U.S. citizen.

Immigration judges to hear priority cases first

People who live in Los Angeles who originated from other countries know that the process of naturalization or even of becoming a legal permanent resident of the United States can be lengthy and complex. US Immigration law outlines very clear requirements that must be met by anyone seeking legal status in this country. In addition, certain steps must take place when processing a petition for immigration.

One of these steps can include a decision by a judge. In the United States, there are currently 230 immigration judges. Across the nation, there are an estimated 430,000 immigration cases awaiting these 230 judges. The state of California has the highest number of backlogged cases with more than 85,000 petitions in need of a judge’s decision. Of those, almost 51,000 of those are in Los Angeles with San Francisco having close to 29,000.

Change may make it easier for immigrants to work legally

The United States is a nation comprised essentially of immigrants. Even people born and raised in the United States commonly refer to themselves as being of some other nationality, evoking great pride in their family heritages. Yes, despite this reality, today’s immigrants can face difficulties when it comes to receiving work permits and finding legal employment.

U.S. immigration law controls permanent residency, green cards and other factors that affect a person not of U.S. citizenship to be able to legally live and work in California or in another state. Changes are being put forth by the President that would make it easier for immigrants in California to find good employment through legal means in the state.

What are some basic requirements to obtaining U.S. citizenship?

There are many ways through which a person may apply to become a citizen of the United States. Each one has its own set of eligibility requirements and associated naturalization and application process. Some of these requirements are shared and some vary from situation to situation.

Some children can obtain citizenship through their parents even if they are born outside the country to at least one U.S. citizen parent as noted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS considers a parent to be a genetic mother or father or a non-genetic mother who gives birth to a child so long as the mother was legally the child’s parent at the time of the birth. Through parents, a child can become a citizen at birth or up until they turn 18 years old.

What are some options to prevent deportation?

Residents in California represent people from all corners of the globe. The diverse nature of our state’s population is part of its identity and success. However, for people who are not American citizens, seeking legal entry into the United States or even citizenship can be very difficult at times. The threat of deportation is commonly one of the most worrisome issues looming over California’s immigrants. Understanding what can contribute to a deportation order and what can be done to fight it is important for all non-citizens in California.

According to the U.S. Immigration Visa Center, there are several situations that can lead to an order for deportation. Immigrants who are the subject of criminal charges, who have allegedly voted in elections for citizens only or who violate the terms of their status in the country can all face deportation. This latter category can include working illegally or even failing to provide updated address information to the authorities. Additionally, if the original entry into the country was deemed illegal, a person could become subject to a deportation order.

Issues arise for immigrants seeking legal drivers’ licenses

All people who drive in the state of California are legally required to carry valid drivers’ licenses. For non-citizens, this can be complicated at times, leaving many alien residents unsure of how to obtain licenses. In 2013, the Governor approved a bill that would allow immigrants who do not have a green card or permanent residency to legally apply for and receive licenses from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In the first week that people without legal status were allowed to apply for drivers’ licenses, the state reportedly issued nearly 10,000 such licenses. It is expected that by 2018, as many as 1.4 million applications to the DMV will be made by illegal immigrants. Recent reports have highlighted some issues that may arise for people when seeking their legal drivers’ licenses.

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