Understanding the Basics of U.S. Immigration Law
U.S. immigration law is more than just the Immigration and Nationality Act. It is a complex mix of laws, regulations, policies, memoranda, handbooks, Executive Orders, and much more, not to mention case law from the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts. As immigration lawyers, our job is to be familiar with the spectrum of immigration law so we can advise and represent our clients appropriately. As a person navigating the immigration legal system, although you don’t need to know everything the law entails, a basic understanding can help you know what to expect when applying for a visa, adjustment of status, naturalization, or dealing with other immigration legal matters.
See below for an introduction to the fundamental principles, categories, and processes of U.S. immigration law. If you need assistance with an immigration issue in New York, contact Queens Immigration Law to speak with an experienced and dedicated immigration lawyer.
Fundamental Principles of U.S. Immigration Law
The foundation of U.S. immigration law is built on several key principles. These principles govern how individuals enter the United States, how long they can stay, what activities they can engage in while in the country, and the path to potential citizenship.
Federal Jurisdiction and Enforcement
U.S. immigration law is primarily governed at the federal level, meaning that it is consistent across all states, including New York. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through agencies like U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is responsible for the enforcement and administration of immigration laws.
Immigrants and non-immigrants in the U.S. have certain rights under the law, such as the right to due process. They also have obligations, like abiding by the terms of their visas and paying taxes.
Individuals seeking entry into the U.S. are categorized based on their purpose of travel. The two main categories are immigrants (those seeking permanent residency) and non-immigrants (those entering for temporary purposes such as tourism, study, or work). These broad categories can be further broken down into specific areas, each with its own set of requirements and processes.
Family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to bring certain family members to the United States. This includes spouses, children, and sometimes siblings and parents.
This category is for individuals seeking to enter the United States for work purposes. It includes a range of visas, from temporary work visas like the H-1B to employment-based green cards for permanent residency.
The United States offers protection to individuals fleeing persecution or disaster through programs like asylum and refugee status, as well as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Diversity Visa Program
The Diversity Visa Lottery is a program that offers a chance for individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States to obtain a green card.
Immigration Processes and Procedures
Understanding the processes and procedures involved in U.S. immigration is vital for a smooth experience.
Application and Documentation
The immigration process typically begins with the submission of an application and the required documentation. This can range from proving family relationships to employment offers, depending on the immigration category.
Visas and Status Adjustments
For non-immigrants, obtaining a visa relevant to their purpose of travel is essential. Immigrants, on the other hand, often go through a process called adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents.
Legal and Procedural Complexities
U.S. immigration law is complex and subject to frequent changes. Navigating this landscape often requires the expertise of a knowledgeable immigration attorney, especially in intricate cases or when dealing with unforeseen legal issues.
Contact Queens Immigration Law in New York for Help With U.S. Immigration Law
Understanding U.S. immigration law is the first step toward a successful immigration journey. Whether you are exploring family-based immigration options, seeking employment opportunities, or looking for humanitarian protection in the U.S., being informed about the fundamental principles, categories, and processes is essential. For personalized guidance and assistance with your immigration needs in New York, consulting with an experienced immigration law firm can provide the necessary support and expertise.
At Queens Immigration Law, we are dedicated to guiding our clients through the complexities of U.S. immigration law with professionalism and care. If you need assistance or have questions about your specific immigration situation, call today at 718-793-7800 in Queens or toll-free throughout New York and beyond at 800-339-0535.