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San Antonio Immigration Law Blog

USCIS proposes increasing H-1B visas for advanced degree holders

The H-1B visa allows degree-holding professionals in certain specialty occupations, along with a couple of other categories of workers, to live and work in the U.S. for between three and six years. This visa is commonly used to bring in people with certain credentials to fill jobs that are not easily filled by U.S. workers. An H-1B requires a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to petition for the worker and submit a Labor Condition Application.

The main group of H-1B visas is for specialty occupation workers with at least a bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent. These visa holders typically work in fields like engineering, science and information technology. H-1B visas can also be issued to researchers and development project workers employed by the Department of Defense and to fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

Permanent residents can face serious consequences for voting

The midterm elections are just around the corner. The Get Out the Vote efforts in your community may have you excited to participate in the democratic process. But if you’re a permanent resident, it’s important to understand that you are not allowed to vote.

While a few states have local elections in which permanent residents may vote, most elections—including the midterm election on November 6—require you to be a U.S. citizen to participate. Even if you’re a green card holder who’s currently in the process of applying for citizenship, you’re not allowed to vote until your citizenship is confirmed.

Why an executive order cannot void birthright citizenship

Birthright citizenship is common in many countries around the world—and it has been a founding principle of United States government. Anyone born in the U.S.—regardless of the citizenship of their parents—is automatically an American citizen.

President Trump has continually attacked so-called “anchor babies”—children who are born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants and thereby receive citizenship rights. In an interview this week, the president described his plans to draft an executive order that would put a stop to birthright citizenship. This announcement has sent shockwaves across the country—leaving many first-generation citizens concerned about their status.

Was your child born outside the U.S.? Obtain citizenship now

Like other Texas residents, you may have assumed that, because your child was born to you, a U.S. citizen, he or she automatically receives the same citizenship. That would probably be the case if your child was born here in the United States but may not be if the birth took place in another country.

Even if you return to the U.S. with your child, it may be prudent not to make the assumption that he or she is an American citizen. Instead, you may need to take certain steps to secure your child's citizenship prior to the age of 18. Thereafter, everyone could be in for an unpleasant surprise if the law considers your child not to be a native of this country.

What are my obligations if I sponsor my fiancé for a visa?

If you’re trying to bring your fiancé to the U.S. to get married, one of the things you’ll need to prove to the government is that you can support them financially once they’re here. You need to demonstrate that you—or you and a co-sponsor—make sufficient income to ensure that your fiancé won’t need to rely on government support once they arrive.

In today’s post, we outline the legal obligations that a visa sponsor—or co-sponsor—takes on.

Is it better to apply for a fiancé visa or a spouse visa?

You and the love of your life have decided to get married. You’ve established a solid, supportive relationship, and you’re ready to take the next step together. There’s just one hiccup in your plan: your fiancée lives in the Philippines.

Now you need to sort through the paperwork and bureaucracy to bring her to the U.S. The prospect may seem overwhelmingly complex. One fundamental question you may be wondering is whether it makes more sense to apply for a fiancé visa—and get married in the U.S.—or apply for a spouse visa—and get married in the Philippines before she moves.

Fearmongering leads to sheltering problem for child migrants

This week, we learned that over 1,6000 migrant children residing in immigration shelters across the country have been rounded up, put on buses and sent to live in a tent city Texas. Immigration personnel sent these children in the middle of the night with little notice—in order to limit their attempts to escape.

The tent city is located in a barren, remote part of West Texas. Children here do not have access to education and limited access to legal support. Compared to the shelters, conditions here are rough. While the tent city is technically not a detainment center—the Flores settlement dictates that children may not be held in jail-like conditions—its location in the middle of a desert makes it difficult for children to leave.

Can I get a fiancé visa if I have a criminal record?

You’ve been looking for love your whole life, and it’s finally happened. The real deal. The man of your dreams is in your life at last, and it’s an earth-shattering type of love you’ve never experienced before. When he asked you to marry him, to couldn’t wait to say yes. You want nothing more than to be together forever.

There’s just one problem: he lives 5,000 miles away in England. You want to bring him to the U.S. to get married and start your lives together. However, due to some stupid mistakes he made when he was younger, that’s proving to be difficult. A couple of drunken pub fights landed him assault charges in his early twenties. Although he’s since matured and paid his debt to society, U.S. immigration authorities have barred him from entering the U.S. If moving to England isn’t in the cards for you, what options do you have?

Seeking a change of status after a disaster

When you first began your efforts to seek temporary residency in the United States, you probably learned quickly that the progress is complex and slow with no guarantees. You may have completed what seemed like reams of paperwork, gathered documentation and checked off other requirements to gain entry into the U.S.

Your lawful presence may have allowed you to attend school in Texas, earn money or visit relatives you hadn't seen in years. As the expiration for your lawful presence was coming to an end, disaster struck in your country. Knowing how stringent the rules are for obtaining your authorization to be in the U.S., you can only imagine the penalties you may face if you overstay your visa. However, if unforeseen circumstances affect your departure, you may find relief in the government's humanitarian programs.

Can you face charges for helping an undocumented immigrant?

With heightened deportation efforts underway, undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are living in fear. Many American citizens have responded to the current administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration by volunteering their time and energy to help out their undocumented neighbors in need.

But what are the laws with regards to such assistance? You may have heard rumors that the authorities could seize your property or put you in jail for helping an undocumented immigrant. What’s the real story?

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Trevino Immigration Law, 206 E. Locust Street, San Antonio, TX 78212