Immigration laws cover the duties and obligations an individual undertakes when they enter into and reside in the United States. There are procedural laws and requirements that must be followed for any individual who desires to enter into and stay in the United States for any length of time. 

Immigration laws are laws that regulate how someone residing in another country can qualify for a visa and under what circumstances someone may be deported from the United States. There are many different kinds of temporary and permanent visas available. An individual will be able to find a visa that will fit their circumstances depending on what their purpose is for entering the United States.

Persons already residing in the United States must also abide by immigration laws. Many individuals legally residing in the U.S. have a permanent visa, known as a green card. Many people with green cards seek to become citizens. These individuals must refrain from engaging in any activities that would cause them to be removed or deported. It is very important to take whatever steps possible to legally reside within the United States.

Immigration law is a very complex area of law and can be difficult to navigate, especially without legal representation. It is important to consult with an attorney concerning any immigration issues.

What are Some Important Immigration Documents? 

Many immigration laws involve documents associated with an individual’s immigration status. An individual may use an immigration document to provide proof of their immigration status, such as a residency card. An immigration document may be necessary in some cases for support or evidence in an immigration application.

Important immigration documents can include:

  • U.S. Passports, which are required for international travel;
  • U.S. Visas;
  • U.S. Conditional Residency Cards;
  • U.S Permanent Resident Cards, or green cards; 
  • U.S. Taxpayer Identification Numbers, known as Tax IDs;
  • U.S. Social Security Cards, which are required for employment in the U.S.;
  • Arrival and Departure Records, called Form I-94s; and/or
  • Re-entry Permits, which allow a non-citizen to leave and re-enter the U.S.

Any and all documents associated with immigration laws are very important. They should be filled out and completed as accurately as possible. They should also be submitted within the required deadlines. Any and all instructions and/or requirements regarding when an individual should keep those documents on their person, either the original or a copy, should be strictly followed.

What are Common Immigration Law Disputes?

There are many common immigration law issues, including immigration violations. Immigration violation is a term used for a violation of the immigration law and policies that are enforced in the United States. The term commonly refers to an individual who enters the U.S. illegally, but it can include other violations. 

Some common violations in New York and the rest of the United States include:

  • Someone illegally entering the United States;
  • Someone overstaying their visa privileges;
  • Someone improperly and/or illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation or removal;
  • When someone exercises fraudulent intent when submitting an immigration application;
  • When someone engages in a sham marriage for the purpose of obtaining a green card;
  • When someone commits a violation related to citizenship and/or naturalization applications; and/or
  • When someone hires illegal immigrants as employees.

These violations are mostly willful violations. It is very important to note that accidental violations can also lead to negative consequences. It is very important to know the requirements and/or guidelines such as:

  • Visa requirements and/or deadlines;
  • Any applicable entry instructions; and/or
  • Other types of immigration guidelines that apply.

What is the History of Immigration in New York? 

New York state may have the strongest immigration in the United States. There are millions of Americans whose ancestors are immigrants who entered the United States through the port of New York. During the 1850s to early 1900s, thousands of immigrants came to the United States and lived in New York City. They came from countries such as:

  • Ireland;
  • Germany;
  • Italy;
  • Eastern Europe;
  • China; and
  • Other counties.

Many immigrants were poor when they arrived in the United States and found homes on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There, rent was low in the crowded apartments, or tentements. Immigrants continue to come to New York today to seek residency in the United States.

How Does Someone Submit an Immigration Application?

An immigration application includes all paperwork and documentation necessary to complete the immigration process. Usually, an immigration application refers to an application for permanent residency, such as a green card application. However, it may also refer to other types of immigrations issues, such as non-immigrant visas. 

The requirements for immigration applications vary depending on which type of visa or document an individual needs. Most immigration applications require certain documents, which may include:

  • The individual’s birth certificate;
  • The individual’s medical records;
  • The individual’s photo ID;
  • Proof of the individual’s clean criminal record;
  • A record the individual’s of previous residences;
  • The individual’s bank account statements;
  • The individual’s employment records; and/or
  • Any other documents that are required.

Any requested or required documents should be submitted with the individual’s immigration application. If an individual fails to provide any required or requested documents, their chances of obtaining a visa document may be negatively affected.

Does New York have Any Special Immigration Laws? 

Immigration has been regulated by federal law through the legislative principle of preemption, which barrs states from passing their own immigration laws. This is to prevent inconsistent laws from being passed.

Although they cannot pass their own laws, states can pass laws regulating which services and benefits are available. Additionally, law enforcement is becoming more able to inquire about an individual’s immigration status and/or notify the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Some states have provided protections for undocumented immigrants, known as Sanctuary Cities. These places will not inquire about an individual’s immigration status and will not hold or transfer prisoners into federal immigration custody under certain circumstances. Some jurisdictions, however, require law enforcement to do just that. New York has taken a stance in the middle of these two.

Under the federal program, Secure Communities, all individuals who are arrested are fingerprinted and run in a federal database that reviews their criminal record and immigration status.

In New York, undocumented immigrants may receive some benefits. For example, an undocument immigrant may apply for a driver’s license under the Green Light Law, if they can provide a valid, foreign document such as a passport to provide their identity and age. While an illegal immigrant is prohibited from receiving most public benefits, they are permitted to receive programs deemed necessary to protect life and safety, such as:

  • Emergency services;
  • Health care;
  • Police protection;
  • Public schools; and
  • Other services and benefits.

Specifically for New York City, Executive Order 41 promotes access to city services for all immigrants, including undocumented immigrants. This order requires, for the most part, city employees to keep confidential a person’s immigration status and other personal information.

Should I Hire a New York Immigration Law Attorney? 

Yes, you should hire an immigration attorney in New York for any immigration related issues. As previously mentioned, immigration law is an extremely complex area of law. It is necessary and important to fill out all required and/or requested documentation accurately. 

An immigration attorney can help you fill out, review, and submit any documents to the appropriate agency. A lawyer will represent you during any court proceedings and/or application appeals, if necessary.