The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a proposal to raise the application fees for citizenship, lawful permanent residency (green card status) and many other services. The proposal is now in a public comment period until Dec. 16, after which the agency must consider the comments.
In 2012, President Barack Obama implemented a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program gave protection from deportation and work authorization to a particular group of immigrants: those who had been brought here as without authorization as children within a specific period.
Many people who want to live and work in the U.S. permanently are perfectly happy with their status as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). There may be good reasons for this but, before you decide, you should be aware that there are significant advantages to becoming a citizen.
This summer, the Trump administration issued a controversial new rule that would have imposed new financial standards on immigrants who are seeking lawful permanent residency (green cards). The rule reinterprets a policy against immigrants who are likely to become a "public charge" which has been in place for over 100 years.
The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) already says that immigrants can't be a "public charge," meaning they aren't supposed to cost taxpayers money by relying on public benefit programs. If they are, or are likely to become, a public charge, immigrants are not eligible for visas or green cards.
When an immigrant is convicted of certain offenses, including controlled substance offenses, they can be deported and removed from the United States. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard a case in which an immigrant petitioned to avoid removal. She claimed that she was not, in fact, convicted of a crime that disqualifies her from remaining in the U.S.
In 2012, Congress reached a deadlock on a program that would have protected young immigrants from deportation if they had been brought to the U.S. as minors.
California's Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, not only legalized adult marijuana use but also provided some relief for people who had previously been convicted of marijuana crimes. Among other things, some marijuana-related felony convictions can be "redesignated" as misdemeanors after the sentence has been served. What does this mean for immigrants?
When an immigrant is convicted of a crime of violence, they are subject to mandatory removal from the U.S. They are also ineligible for many kinds of relief from removal. If this has happened to you, however, there may still be hope.
If you're from American Samoa, you probably know that you're a national, but not a full citizen, of the United States. You are eligible for a U.S. passport and can live and work in the U.S., but you're missing out on a number of other privileges of U.S. citizenship, such as: