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Kentucky Immigration Law Blog

Immigration and stress management

For those who immigrate to another country, all sorts of hurdles may arise, whether they involve legal challenges, financial concerns or emotional issues. Immigration can be incredibly stressful, especially for those who are immigrating with their families. Unfortunately, stress can get in the way of a family's ability to successfully immigrate to the U.S. and it is vital to address stress (as well as other negative emotions such as depression) properly. There are a number of ways in which immigrants in Louisville and across the state of Kentucky may be able to manage their stress in a healthy manner.

For starters, stress is often a result of uncertainty. Immigrants may worry about their future or the outcome of an immigration case. They may be unsure if they will be able to continue living in the U.S. or how their circumstances will affect those they love. In order to potentially reduce some of this anxiety, many people have benefited from carefully reviewing their situation and developing a clear understanding of the steps they will need to take to increase their chances of success. Being prepared can not only reduce stress, but it can also increase the odds of a favorable end result.

Undocumented immigrants have rights in the United States

Immigrants living in Kentucky may have encountered circumstances that left them without the proper documentation to remain in the United States with their families. As a result, they may worry that a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent may come knocking on their door and then detain and deport them.

An immigrant does not have to simply let the ICE officer in, answer questions and submit to deportation. In fact, according to the National Immigration Project, here is what an undocumented immigrant has the right to do if authorities are on the doorstep:

  • Keep the door closed: An agent cannot enter unless he or she has a signed warrant or unless the occupant of the house allows them to come in. If the agent claims to have a warrant, the immigrant can request that he or she slide it under the door to verify that there is such a document.
  • Do not speak: Immigrants have the right to remain silent, and it is a good idea to do so. Anything that an undocumented immigrant says to an ICE agent may be used against him or her in a deportation case.
  • Document the incident: Regardless of the outcome, it is a good idea for an immigrant to have a thorough record of the interaction with the agent. Video and audio recordings, pictures and notes of what happened may provide evidence that an ICE agent did not follow proper procedure or violated the immigrant’s rights.

Immigrant or non-immigrant visas: Which type do you need?

Making plans to travel to Kentucky or another location in the United States from abroad can be exciting and stressful at the same time. It might be the first time you've ever left your country of origin. Perhaps you have goals and dreams about starting over in life in a new home, community and workplace, or want to stay in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

The process for making such dreams come true can be quite daunting. Many immigrants feel confused just trying to figure out which visa they need. Are you a student who wishes to study at a U.S. university? Have you met the love of your life and want to marry him or her? Do you have a job opportunity in the United States? Each of these issues may help determine which type of visa you need. Like most immigrants, what you want to avoid most is legal status problems.

What is a credible fear screening?

According to HumanRightsFirst.org, the credible fear screening process was developed to allow illegal immigrants with legitimate fears about their home countries to apply for asylum when subject to expedited removal. This process allows a person to provide evidence of possible threats, but also looks at their background to determine whether they're considered an acceptable candidate for asylum. 

For instance, people with certain backgrounds are barred from receiving asylum no matter the circumstances they face in their home country. Participating in terrorist activity or a group, or persecuting others will prevent a person from being granted asylum. Criminal activity is another factor looked at. If the person has a criminal record in their home country related to a non-political crime or was convicted of a crime in the U.S., he or she may be barred from receiving asylum. 

What are my obligations as a U.S. citizen?

All citizens of the U.S. are afforded certain rights that can't be taken away. Additionally, citizens, including immigrants, are also obligated to uphold the essential tenets of this country. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains these obligations so you and your family can strive to exemplify the values that make America what it is. 

When you apply for citizenship, you're making a commitment to the U.S. This entails participating in the democratic process. Not only should you vote in state and federal elections, you must also inform yourself on each of the candidates and what they have to offer. That way you can make an informed decision on what's in the best interest of yourself and other citizens. You should also take an interest in your surrounding community. You can do so by keeping up on local news and seeking out community resources when you have questions.

How can I apply for a visitor visa?

According to the U.S. Department of State, a visitor visa is available to business travelers, tourists, and those seeking medical care within this country. These visas are intended for temporary stays, and as a result, they are considered non-immigrant visas. You must meet certain criteria to be considered eligible, and it's beneficial to understand these criteria before filing. 

First and foremost, you must show that the length of your visit does not exceed the definition of temporary according to governing bodies. You must also prove that you have the proper funds to pay for any expenses you encounter in this country. This includes things like food or housing. Lastly, you must prove that you have a place of permanent residence in your home country. This provides assurance that you have the motivation to leave when your business in this country has been completed. 

How the 2017 travel ban led to an increase in dual citizenships

In early 2017, immigrants in Kentucky faced a statewide panic due to the travel bans that were implemented at the start of the year. According to CNN, reports from the White House originally said that green card holders would not be affected. However, the statement was allegedly later changed to say green card holders of the banned countries would indeed be affected.

Despite the fact that the specific countries banned were explicitly named, interpretation of the ban was largely left up to the agents enforcing them. As a result, several news reports began to circle regarding American citizens who were also affected by the ban due to family ties, business or leisure travel plans involving the affected countries. Immigrants from other countries then waited with bated breath to see what immigration policies might follow that would include them.  

The complicated reasons many apply for asylum

At the Vickerstaff Law Office, we know that it can be easy for U.S.-born citizens to take our rights and freedoms for granted, without realizing the horrors that countless people in other countries endure. You and others seeking a safe place to live in Kentucky and other states may apply for refugee status or asylum within the United States.

As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains, you need to demonstrate valid reasons to seek shelter in America, the most urgent being an inability to live without fear in your native country or to safely relocate to other areas. Many governments persecute their own citizens for various reasons, or fail to protect their citizens from others who violate their rights. The most common reasons people seek asylum or refugee status include the fear of imprisonment, torture, violent government reaction to peaceful protests and genocide, as well as restricting certain groups from their country’s politics.

Did immigration officials in Kentucky question your marriage?

When you married a U.S. citizen in Kentucky, you suspected you might encounter numerous challenges as you adapt to life in the United States. Culture shock is definitely real, and it pays to reach out for support if you are having trouble acclimating to your new surroundings. Certain issues may make your situation even more stressful, for instance, if immigration officials question the validity of your marriage.

If the U.S. government requests your presence at a marriage interview, it is likely because officials suspect you of committing fraud. The outcome of the interview may greatly affect your ability to stay in the United States. It's logical to assume that you'll want to be as prepared as possible to prove the legitimacy of your marriage. The more you learn about U.S. immigration law regarding marriage-based visas and learn how to avoid deportation, the better chance you might have of avoiding removal.

The effect of Trump's newest policies on asylum

Immigration is a complex process that can be altered significantly by the way people go about seeking asylum. For many immigrant families, the overwhelming task of looking for protection from their own country's dangers is complicated by inconsistencies in immigration policies and growing disagreement about how asylum in Kentucky and other parts of the United States should be sought. 

As the conflict over immigration policies continues to create difficulties for people seeking asylum, the latest changes implemented by the Trump administration have presented a new set of challenges. The recent changes affect a couple of areas, but primarily how work permits are given out to people awaiting asylum. The goal of adjusting the policy is to reduce the number of people that gain asylum during a specific time period and thus reduce the number of unsolved cases currently overwhelming the migration system.