Global Immigration Partners

Los Angeles Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Changes made that can affect spouses of H1B nonimmigrant workers

An H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies in the United States to employ foreign workers in California and elsewhere in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. The Department of Homeland Security has recently begun to accept applications after a new rule was applied in May that can affect the dependent spouses of H1B nonimmigrant workers. The spouses sometimes reside within the country under an H4B visa, which allows immediate family members of H1B visa holders to also live in the United States.

The DHS recently began accepting applications to allow spouses of certain nonimmigrant workers to seek employment while residing in the United States. Legislative measures taken earlier this year have made it possible for thousands who have an H4B status to seek paid employment. Typically, the EAD (employment authorization document) will be issued approximately 90 days following a submitted application.

Green cards and permanent residency issues

Many immigrants in California and elsewhere are able, under certain circumstances, to lawfully live and work in the United States indefinitely. Often, non-citizens face a variety of legal issues pertaining to green cards, visas or other matters of permanent residency.  The rules and regulations governing such things can sometimes be very complex and confusing for those involved.

At Global Immigration Partners, we are dedicated to assisting you as you prepare to seek an adjustment of your legal status or search for answers to questions about other immigrant issues. Where green cards are concerned, some immigrants apply through their employers, while others base their applications on familial relationships. The processes vary, and each has its own benefits and challenges.

A bridge to America to sell

For years, the man had been telling Los Angeles area immigrants that he was an attorney who could help them deal with legal problems, including with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Unfortunately, as people found out, the man was not an attorney and he was not an immigration consultant either.

Earlier this year, he pleaded no contest to criminal charges for practicing law without a license and related matters. Authorities say he is far from the only one looking to prey on immigrants eager for assistance with USCIS and legal matters. He illustrates the point that immigrants and others looking for help with green cards, visas and adjustment of status should rely on law firms known for their honesty and track record.

Immigration court crisis deepens

Most of our readers will recall the surge of immigrants coming across the southern U.S. border last summer. Experts say that influx of 68,500 unaccompanied children and family units, mostly from Central America, pushed the backlog in federal immigration courts to unprecedented heights.

More than 445,000 immigration cases are now pending in courts in Los Angeles and across the nation. That's about a 30 percent backlog increase in a little over a year, experts say.

Who qualifies for a family-based visa?

Here in the Los Angeles area, there are spouses who are separated from their partners in life by thousands of miles. As if that separation isn't painful enough, there are parents who endure day after day without their children at their side. Those lost days can never be recaptured or relived as a united family.

That's part of why it is so important to people dedicated to immigration law to work on uniting families separated not only by those miles, but also by the rules, regulations and paperwork of the U.S. immigration system.

California AG: "An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal"

California Attorney General Kamala Harris shook our portion of the world when she recently said in an interview that undocumented immigrants are not criminals. A few days later, she gave the state another shake when she refused to back down from the sentiment in an interview with a Los Angeles TV station.

“An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal,” she said again. She said that as a career prosecutor, she knows crime when she sees it. And she knows criminals when she sees them. And when she looks at an undocumented immigrant, she says she's not looking at someone who committed a crime by coming to the U.S.

California: Best state for undocumented immigrants

One of our city's finest institutions of higher learning -- the University of California at Los Angeles -- recently released a ranking based on which states do the most to keep undocumented immigrants healthy and allow them access to societal integration. At the very top of the list is our own state, California.

At the bottom of the UCLA list is a state that caught some residents there by surprise: Ohio.

Less blue-collar, more white-collar

The respected Pew Research Center has been tracking trends among U.S. citizens and immigrants since 1990. As a polling company that tracks trends, too, among Hispanic citizens and immigrants, it has been widely cited by Los Angeles and California leaders.

A recent poll by the organization shows that unauthorized immigrant workers today hold fewer blue-collar jobs -- a traditional immigrant employment stronghold -- and more white-collar jobs than they did before the Great Recession that began in 2007. The Pew Research Center notes, however, that "a solid majority still works in low-skilled service, construction and production occupations."

Achieving a green card goal

Although it might seem extravagant to Americans used to taking their citizenship for granted, it is not an overstatement to note that for millions of immigrants, LPR status (lawful permanent resident) is the dream of a lifetime. When they make their way through the bureaucracy's maze of regulations, forms and paperwork, they are given their green card, which must be carried with them at all times.

There are several paths for potential permanent residents to take, all of them leading to the same goal. It's important to choose not only the proper path, but also the proper guide to help you navigate the path. 

A Los Angeles voice of reason on immigration

One of the calm voices in the raging immigration debate is well-known to us here in Los Angeles: former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Rosario Marin. The first immigrant to serve in the position, Marin grew up in Huntington Park -- she lives there now with her husband.

The daughter of immigrants, Mexico-born Marin urges both sides of the issue to consider compromise on at least one aspect of immigration she says is important to continued growth of the U.S. economy: allowing more people into the country on employment visas.