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Baton Rouge Legal Blog

Sponsor's status could affect family immigration visas

Coming to Louisiana or other parts of the United States is a complicated process. Some individuals may have family members that already live in the country, and they may have hopes that family immigration will help them reach a new home. Of course, this process still takes time and effort to complete.

In order for a relative to sponsor a sibling's or parent's immigrant visa, the sponsor must be at least 21 years old. This age requirement is not necessary for other relatives. The sponsor must also be a citizen or lawful permanent resident and have a place of residence in the United States. The difference between being a lawful permanent resident and a naturalized citizen can also affect the type of visa that family members could obtain.

Immigration detention centers found in deplorable conditions

Though many individuals come to Louisiana and other parts of the United States in hopes of finding better lives, that it not always their initial experience. Some people could find themselves in immigration detention for various reasons and wonder whether they made the right choice in coming to this country. Unfortunately, the state of many detention centers may only enforce this concern.

It was recently reported that an inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found the conditions of four detention centers beyond lacking. The unannounced inspections apparently took place last year, and the inspector general found that the bathrooms in the facilities were unsanitary and rundown, including having mold on the walls and unusable toilets. The report also indicated that detainees were not given provisions that were required for them.

Risk of deportation has abuse survivors afraid of coming forward

Anyone could become the victim of domestic violence, including immigrants. Unfortunately, many immigrants in Louisiana and other parts of the country find themselves in a difficult predicament when it comes to reporting this and other types of abuse. They may worry that if they come forward with claims, they will put themselves at risk of deportation.

A recent report indicated this fear is prevalent among immigrants, especially during the current political climate. They often worry that if they contact the authorities, their immigration statuses will come into question and that they could end up being removed from the country and separated from their children. Many immigrants have also expressed worry that they will face additional abuse as retaliation for making reports to the police.

US immigration law now requires social media info for visas

Applying for visas in order to come to Louisiana or other parts of the United States is already a complicated endeavor. It seems that recently more and more stipulations are being enacted under U.S. immigration law that are making the application process even more in-depth. In fact, more changes have just come to light regarding applicants' social media presence.

Recent reports indicate that a requirement for social media information, which was initially proposed in 2018, has now become a part of visa applications. Apparently, the current presidential administration believes that obtaining this information, which could include email addresses, social media usernames and other information, would allow for more in-depth scrutiny of visa applicants. In the past, the requirement to provide social media information was limited to individuals who garnered extra investigation, such as those who had visited terrorist-controlled areas. 

America's history shows the cultural value of immigrants

Immigration is something of a loaded term these days. People argue about what it means -- both in terms of what the actual word defines and what immigrants mean for the future of the United States. Everyone seems to have an opinion.

But let's not look at opinions. Let's look at facts. Let's look at history. When you do that, it becomes undeniable that immigrants have had a massive and positive impact on the United States.

Proposal for changes to US immigration law announced

Changes to the law do not happen overnight. In fact, it can take years for proposals to move through the necessary channels before determining whether certain changes should be implemented. Of course, this process can also cause a great deal of confusion to individuals in Louisiana and elsewhere who are concerned with a particular area of law, especially U.S. immigration law.

Concerns over immigration law continue as yet another proposal was announced by the current presidential administration. According to reports, the main takeaways of the proposal are that family immigration will be more limited while a higher priority will be placed on high-skill immigrants. The idea behind the proposal is that more professionals would be encouraged to come to the United States in order to stay and work.

Asylum seekers continue to wait outside the borders

For many Louisiana residents, waiting is the hardest part when hoping that something will occur. For individuals seeking asylum in the United States, they may find themselves waiting for months before they can even begin the process to find safety in this country. Unfortunately, their struggles only continue.

Because of the many immigration law policies and changes that have affected asylum in recent months, many individuals looking to enter the country remain waiting outside the border. In eight cities along the southern border, 13,000 immigrants are waiting to get into the United States. Some are sleeping in tents, and others have indicated that they face threats of kidnapping by gangs and experience shakedowns. Some individuals know that they may have to wait months in order to reach the country legally.

Some in immigration detention face legal aid restrictions

Coming to the United States from another country is a major step. Unfortunately, the current political climate is making it difficult for individuals to feel welcome in Louisiana and other parts of the country, and many immigrants wind up in immigration detention. Understandably, they may feel frightened and uncertain during this time.

Numerous female asylum seekers in a detention center in another state are likely feeling this way. According to reports, their specific facility has apparently begun working against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement standards by restricting detainees' access to legal aid. One nonprofit legal services group claims that the facility has limited its abilities to interact with detainees, including those the group is trying to help with legal matters.

DNA testing may cause more complications for asylum seekers

Most people make some type of life-changing decision during their lives. These decisions can have minor or major impacts depending on the nature of the choices made. For individuals who face threats in their homelands, seeking asylum in Louisiana and other parts of the United States may be a life-changing decision they have to make.

Often, the decision to seek safety in another country involves families as well as individual people. However, families reaching the United States border may be facing additional hardships as immigration officials work to identify so-called "fraudulent families." This term apparently refers to groups of people that come to the border with children who are not related to them in efforts to bypass a long stay in immigration detention. As a result, immigration enforcement is scheduled to start DNA testing at two points along the southern border.

Immigration detention is currently a hot topic in Louisiana

Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards said he and others have worked hard to lower the state's ranking as the nation's highest incarceration state. About a year after making such comments, the governor's goals were accomplished. While there are now fewer people behind bars for criminal offenses, at least three new immigration detention facilities have opened throughout the state, thus leading to projections that there will soon be more immigrant detainees housed here than any other state except for one.

Many immigrant advocates say that when immigrants are housed in rural detention facilities like those in Louisiana, it becomes more difficult for them to obtain asylum. All of these detention centers in this state are overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New Orleans. Most immigration judges sitting in Louisiana reportedly deny the majority of asylum requests that come before them in court.

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