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Can I Still Be Deported in the Midst of COVID-19?Since COVID-19 hit the U.S. in early March, normal life in America has essentially been put on hold, at least in some aspects. Restaurants have adjusted their means of service, employees have been told to work remotely for the time being, and travel has been restricted and highly discouraged. Despite these societal implications, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still in full action.

In order to address the high global contagion of COVID-19, the Trump administration has halted international students moving to the U.S. and enrolling in American universities in the coming school year. This is hardly the only area of immigration or international travel being affected in the U.S., and deportation is a harsh reality for many immigrants and foreigners seeking asylum in the U.S.

Coronavirus Outbreaks in Detention Centers

The novel coronavirus manifests through close contact and the transfer of respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking. For this reason, Americans have been mandated to wear masks in public places or when around those who are outside of their immediate family. With some of the highest case numbers in the world, it is no surprise that U.S. immigration detention centers are seeing their fair share of outbreaks. Asylum seekers from a Texas detention center noted that detainees were not given masks or gloves and were kept in close quarters. As of June 1, over 1,406 detainees had tested positive for COVID-19 – this number now sits at 3,917 confirmed cases.

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Harris County immigration visa attorney

The easiest and most common way to file for an immigration visa is through family sponsorship. You may have heard of “green card weddings,” which refers to people who get married solely to become a legal resident of the United States. While cases like these do exist, this is far from the norm. Having a relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can greatly increase your chances of being approved for a visa.

Two Categories of Visas

There are two types of family-based immigrant visas, and applicants who wish to use this way of securing citizenship must fall into one of these two groups. An unlimited number of Immediate Relative (IR) visas are available. An immigrant must be classified as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen to qualify. These visa types include: 

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Harris County, TX deportation defense attorney

Getting deported is every immigrant’s biggest fear. Whether you just arrived in the United States or have built a life here, you run the risk of being sent back to your country of origin if you are found to be in violation of immigration laws. The deportation process is scary for any undocumented immigrant, but it is important to understand the steps followed during this process and your rights when facing potential deportation.

The Deportation Process Explained

The deportation process can begin with an arrest by state or local law enforcement officers. When criminal charges are filed, an individual’s fingerprints are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which are then passed on to the FBI. If these fingerprints match federal immigration records at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the person can be detained in the local jail for up to 48 hours before being released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE may also begin deportation proceedings against a person on its own by sending a person a Notice to Appear for a removal hearing. Deportation will typically involve the following steps:

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Posted on in Immigration

 

Harris County immigration lawyerImmigration has become a hot button topic in the United States over the last few years, especially in states that border Mexico. According to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mexico has the highest percentage of immigrants to the U.S., followed by China, Cuba, and India. When discussing legal and illegal immigration, various terms are used by the news media, yet very few sources explain the differences between the types of immigration documents that exist or how individuals can obtain them. A Green Card is one of the most popular terms used. This form of identification indicates that the holder of the card is allowed to live and work in the United States permanently. In other words, this card grants immigrants permanent resident status.

Who Is Eligible For a Green Card?

A variety of scenarios allow immigrants to obtain a Green Card. The most common forms of eligibility are family and employment connections. Those who have U.S. citizen family members or who work in the United States are typically eligible for permanent residency. There are also situations in which those seeking safety can apply for a Green Card. These include individuals with refugee or asylee status, human trafficking and crime victims, and victims of abuse. A category known as “special immigrants” refers to individuals such as religious workers or international broadcasters. Another group who can register for a Green Card are those people who have resided continuously in the United States since before Jan. 1, 1972.

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