Immigration Law in Iowa

Does your immigration status worry you? Do you find the current immigration laws confusing? An Iowa immigration lawyer can help correctly file all your paperwork. 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. For those who enter or remain in the country illegally or those who lose their status, U.S immigration law mandates their prosecution, detention, and possible deportation.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Iowa passed legislation in 2018 that banned sanctuary city policies in the state. Any jurisdiction that doesn’t comply risks losing state funding. However, as of March 2021, CIS reported that there are several sanctuary counties in Iowa, including Franklin County and Marion County.  These counties will not honor an ICE detainer unless a judge has approved the move with a probable cause warrant. As well, Iowa City in Johnson County only accepts some requests for ICE notification (I-247N form).

Which Government Agencies Enforce Immigration Law?

There are multiple federal government agencies that oversee immigration law in the United States. 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 is tasked with maintaining and strengthening the country’s borders.

How Does Immigration Into the U.S. and Iowa 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 an immigration lawyer to help with the process. Note if immigration is the main practice area of a law firm.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Iowa passed two pieces of immigration-related legislation in 2019. A budget appropriation law included funds for the Iowa commission on volunteer services to be used for the RISE AmeriCorps program. Another appropriation law funded support services for international refugees to improve English literacy, life skills, and cultural competencies. According to Iowa Public Radio, recent changes to federal immigration laws, such as reinstating the DACA program and pausing deportation for 100 days, will impact Iowa immigrants.

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 is given to older relatives of those filing a petition. 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 Iowa 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 to where they came from due to unsafe conditions. The President, in coordination with Congress, dictates how many people can be granted 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 be granted asylum or how long their period of asylum lasts in Immigration Law.

The United States Office of Refugee Resettlement coordinates services for refugees at the state level. In addition, Lutheran Services in Iowa provides a wide variety of services to refugees, including education, family services, and economic development programs. The Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI) is a voluntary membership network of service providers, religious groups, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. RACI helps these organizations work together to serve the needs of the refugee population in Central Iowa. RACI provides assistance in a variety of areas, including health, housing and transportation, interpretation, and education.

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 Iowa Immigration Lawyers

Iowa immigration lawyers serve as advisors that guide applicants throughout the application 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, Iowa immigration lawyers deal with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department.

The ACLU Idaho is one of a number of advocacy groups in Iowa actively working on immigration reform at the state and federal level. In addition, the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa has an Advocacy Workgroup that focuses on the annual Refugee Day on the Hill at the Iowa State Capitol. The Immigrant Rights Network of Iowa is focused on facilitating full immigrant participation in decision-making processes, and enhancing immigrant leadership, voice and power.

When Should I Consider Hiring An Iowa Immigration Attorney?

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

  • The applicant convicted a crime.
  • Prior applications have been denied.
  • The applicant has previously been deported 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 was based 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 is 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 Iowa attorney to help you navigate this complicated legal system. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Iowa 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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