Immigration Law in Charleston, WV

Does your immigration status worry you? Do you find the current immigration laws confusing? A Charleston, West Virginia immigration lawyer can help correctly file all your paperwork. Moreover, an immigration attorney can also defend you if you face deportation orders.

What Is Immigration Law?

Immigration law deals with federal regulations dictating who can live and work in the United States of America. It also involves the naturalization process for permanent residents who wish to become United States citizens. U.S. immigration law mandates prosecution, detention, and deportation for those who enter or remain illegally.

Charleston is not a sanctuary city, and local law enforcement cooperates with ICE. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there are no sanctuary jurisdictions in West Virginia.

Which Government Agencies Enforce Immigration Law?

There are multiple federal government agencies that oversee immigration law in the United States. For example, here are the three major federal agencies:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement: ICE investigates people who violate immigration laws and carries out enforcement.
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services: USCIS handles applications to become United States workers, residents, or citizens.
  • Customs and Border Protection: CBP maintains and strengthens the country’s borders.

How Does Immigration Into the U.S. and Charleston, WV Work?

In order to legally immigrate into the United States, one must submit several different applications to the federal government. Immigration regulations can change constantly. We recommend hiring a Charleston, West Virginia immigration lawyer to help with the process. Note if immigration is the main practice area of a law firm.

Two bills related to immigration entered the West Virginia Legislature in 2019. House Bill 2067 would have banned sanctuary cities across the state, including Charleston. House Bill 2664 would have allowed local governments to ban refugees. However, neither bill became law. Although, some local agencies, such as the West Virginia Fire Marshall in Charleston, actively work with ICE. According to CBS Fox 59 News, several people were arrested in 2020 on suspicion of not being in the US legally. The Fire Marshall reported them to ICE when they applied to take the electrician licensing exam.

Types Of Immigration

Family-Based Immigration

This is the most common type of immigration. It involves an eligible family member filing a petition on behalf of the individual seeking naturalization. U.S citizens can file a petition on behalf of anyone considered an immediate relative. However, permanent residents and other migrants may face additional restrictions.

Those seeking immigration who aren’t immediately related to the person filing a petition on their behalf are subject to further review. This puts your immigration application into a pool with applied preferences. Preferential treatment goes to those who are under 21 and unmarried. On the other hand, less preference goes to older relatives of those filing a petition. Accordingly, it can take years for these kinds of applicants to obtain a visa.

Employment-Based Immigration

This is a temporary visa given to those seeking work or business opportunities in America. Employment-based immigration is a broad category with many different categories. Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • Visas for athletes or entertainers
  • Diplomatic employees visas
  • Visas for religious workers
  • Visas for employees in specific industries, such as healthcare and agriculture

In these cases, a specific employer typically sponsors the immigrant. Once the temporary window closes, the company can choose to make the immigrant’s status permanent. Some Charleston business owners and investors can also sponsor themselves via their companies.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

There are special conditions where immigrants may legally enter and remain in the United States. These situations can involve people fleeing persecution or who cannot return. The President, in coordination with Congress, dictates how many people can receive refugee status.

People who fear persecution upon returning to their country may seek asylum from the United States. There is currently no mandated limit on how many people can receive asylum or how long their period of asylum lasts in Immigration Law.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement coordinates services for newly arrived refugees in West Virginia. In Charleston, services are available through Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. This organization provides much-needed medical, financial, housing, and employment assistance for Charleston refugees.

The Difference Between a Visa and a Green Card

A visa allows you to enter the U.S and remain for a certain period of time. However, a green card allows you to enter and stay for as long as you want. Permanent residents are people who hold green cards.

Non-Immigrant Visas

Non-immigrant visas are types of visas for people who are planning on leaving once their term has elapsed. These types of visas do not lead to permanent residency unless the person has another qualifying reason. For example, this includes tourist visas, student visas, and work visas.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas offer the opportunity for permanent residency in the United States. If you have an immigrant visa, you might become eligible for a green card. However, these visas are harder to obtain and require someone to vouch for you via petition by a qualifying U.S. person.

The Role of Charleston, WV Immigration Lawyers

Charleston, West Virginia immigration lawyers serve as advisors that guide applicants throughout the process. Matters that typically invoke the service of an immigration lawyer are extensive. These are deportation issues, green cards, citizenship, naturalization, employment, and visa or green card applications.

You will not typically find immigration lawyers in court dealing with cases. Instead, they serve as mediators between their clients and the U.S immigration services. Specifically, Charleston, WV immigration lawyers deal with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department.

There is a USCIS Application Support Center in Charleston. In addition, the US District Court in Charleston conducts naturalization ceremonies twice per year. For help with applications, petitions, and filings, Legal Aid of West Virginia offers some pro bono assistance for immigrants in Charleston.

When Should I Consider Hiring a Charleston, WV Immigration Attorney?

Hiring an immigration lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia is not always necessary. But even so, there are some instances where hiring an immigration attorney becomes almost mandatory:

  • The applicant is a convicted criminal.
  • The denial of prior applications.
  • The applicant has previously been through deportation or barred entry from the United States.
  • The waiting period for an application has taken unreasonably long.
  • The applicant is seeking an employment visa but the employer refuses to help facilitate the process.
  • The applicant’s previous status depended on marriage but that marriage resulted in divorce. You need to prove there was no fraudulent activity.
  • The child of an applicant is close to reaching the age of 21 prior to the granted application. There are different provisions for people under the age of 21.
  • The applicant became confused with the application process. The applicant is unable to complete the paperwork on their own.

Do you suffer from any of the problems above or have other immigration problems to resolve? If so, we can help connect you with the right Charleston, WV attorney to help you navigate this complicated legal system. We can even help you connect with an attorney across West Virginia state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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