Helping family members immigrate - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Helping family members immigrate

Countries like America and Canada have a long, proud history of welcoming immigrants. This is based on the belief that immigrants make a country diverse, and a diverse country is a stronger country. However, these are challenging times for people trying to immigrate, especially if they’re coming from certain parts of the world. There have been drastic proposals to curb legal immigration that haven’t made it through Congress and aren’t likely to anytime soon, but the Trump administration is still taking numerous steps to overhaul the way the system works, and the effects could be dramatic and lasting. In short, it’s a challenging time for immigrants. If you’re a U.S. resident who wants to help a family member come over to the States, it’s not impossible, but it may very well be harder than it was even two or three years ago. Your best defense is to be prepared for anything.

Hiring legal help

One of the best things you can do for your loved one? Hire them an immigration lawyer. Some cases will be more difficult than others, but complications can arise in just about every case. That’s true even if you have a Canadian fiancé who just wants to move to Michigan with you, and it’s doubly true if your fiancé is from a Middle Eastern country. At the time of this writing, the Supreme Court appeared likely to uphold the most recent version of the Trump administration’s travel ban. The ban applies to eight countries, six of which are Muslim-majority countries. Critics say it’s an attempt to exclude Muslims from entering the country, while defenders say it’s a national security issue rather than a religious one. Regardless of how the issue shakes out, there have been and continue to be reports of increasingly aggressive behavior by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. That makes it even more critical that people who are trying to become citizens do everything by the book, since seemingly minor violations can turn the immigration process from “tricky” to “impossible.” A lawyer can guide you and your family member through the process. Trained legal help is invaluable in such situations, because while there will still be stressful moments, at least you won’t have to lie awake at night worrying about whether or not you filled out a form properly.  

Know your visas

It’s not a bad idea to try to educate yourself about the process your loved one will be going through, although you should leave the paperwork and everything to a trained attorney. One of the most well-known types of visas is the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, commonly known as the fiance visa. Once you and your intended have obtained a K-1 visa and they’ve entered the United States, the two of you have a maximum of 90 days to get legally married. After you’re married, your new spouse can apply for permanent resident status, also known as a green card.

It sounds relatively simple on paper, but it can be quite stressful in real life. ICE takes the possibility of marriage fraud incredibly seriously, which means you and your new spouse’s relationship will be subject to a lot of scrutiny. Immigration officials want to see two people in the process of combining their lives into one, not two people who don’t even live in the same place and only see each other once a month. Talk to your immigration attorney about the best ways to prove that you and your spouse are together for life, not just so one of you can get a green card.


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