It is the movement of people into a country. People could be moving into a country because they are looking to take up residence there, or because they are tourists on vacation.
What is immigration law?
Immigration law is the body of law that governs immigration in a particular country. Immigration law deals with citizens of a country who are returning from a stay abroad, and foreign nationals who are looking to enter the country. There are different laws for each of these categories.
Why do we need immigration law?
Here are three reasons why immigration law is helpful-
In the present age, we have seen higher rates of acts of terrorism across the world. Immigration laws help us to keep an eye out for terror alerts, where these acts may take place, and if the people who have committed these crimes are entering a particular country. It helps to catch purported terrorists who may be trying to flee from their crime as well. The Immigration and Nationality Act came into effect in the United States of America in 1952, although it has been modified since. The safety of the residents of a country is paramount and acts like these that fall under immigration law help maintain that.
Check on Crime
With crime and criminal activities taking place all over the world, different countries have different laws that can be used to try their citizens. These laws help determine whether a criminal is a citizen of the country and whether they can be tried under the nation’s laws. It also looks at people who have entered the country illegally, and whether their stay in the country is legally permitted. This is important for people who are coming from declared war zones or places of conflict. In an age of travel, it helps to determine the country whose laws must be used to look at crimes committed in the air, or at sea.
Control the Spread of Diseases
Diseases and illnesses can often be location-specific. They can be found in particular places because of environments, diets, or the lifestyles of people. With immigration laws, it is possible to keep a track of where people are traveling. It can help diagnose any diseases they might have gotten due to travel. It can also help control the spread of diseases across the world. Today with our global pandemic, it is very important to know where the virus could be spreading from.
Having a basic understanding of immigration law is helpful. It helps you become aware of the laws that apply to you when you leave and enter the country, whether you have any rights as a foreigner in another country, and what rights you possess as a citizen of your own country. However, if you are looking for a deeper understanding of how immigration laws are implemented it is always useful to contact an immigration lawyer. They are experts in the field, who will be able to identify what particular laws are relevant to your case, and the subtle nuances of these.
Immigration laws are established by the Federal government in the US to determine who is eligible to enter the country and the duration for which their entry is valid. Immigration laws also pertain to the naturalization process for those seeking US citizenship.
Immigration status in the US is classified into 4 types:
Individuals who are born in the US or who have been naturalized due to 3-5 years of permanent residency qualify as US citizens. They enjoy privileges such as:
- They can work in the US legally.
- They are entitled to public benefits.
- They cannot be deported.
- They can petition for the legal status of their spouse, child, parents, or sibling.
There are 2 types of residents in the US:
Legal permanent residents:
These are residents who have been authorized to live and work in the US. Legal permanent residents are commonly referred to as “green card holders” because of the permanent residence card granted to them by the government.
Those residents who have been married for less than two years before they are given the green card are known as conditional residents.
Conditional residence can be converted to permanent residence by submitting a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence.
Both types of residents have the legal right to live and work permanently in the US. However, these rights can be annulled if the resident is guilty of a criminal offense or has committed immigration fraud.
Non-immigrants are people who live legally in the country but for a limited period. They have a specific visa granted to them.
Examples of non-immigrants are:
- Students who require an F1 Visa
- Business visitors/ Tourists, who require B1/B2 Visa
- Fiancees who are granted the K1 Visa
- Those individuals who are granted temporary protected status.
Non-immigrants may be shifted to the non-documented category in case:
- Their application is fraudulent
- They do not adhere to the terms of the visa
- Stay beyond the period defined in the visa
Undocumented people are those who are in the US illegally. These people do not have the legal right to seek employment in the US. They are not eligible for public benefits like healthcare, etc. Besides they run the risk of being deported at any time.
There are specific laws that govern the rights of each type of US immigrant. However, with the change in administration and the Biden Government taking over, the immigration laws in the US are likely to undergo several changes. The changes in the immigration laws as per the US Citizenship Act of 2021are likely to make it easier for undocumented and those with temporary status to gain citizenship.
If you are thinking of migrating to the US or are unsure of your current immigration status, you will need to consult an immigration lawyer. Autrey Law firm has a team of experienced immigration lawyers who are aware of the updates in immigration laws. They can advise you on the nuances of immigration laws.