Law Offices of Hugo Pina
Experienced Immigration And Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving South Texas
McAllen 956-320-2241 Harlingen 956-421-5900

News And Thoughts On Immigration Law in South Texas

Keep this in mind if an ICE officer approaches you

Texas happens to be a border state in the U.S., which means it also happens to be a common entry point for people who emigrate to this country from other places of origin. Whether you have recently arrived in this state or have been living and working here for quite some time, you might experience moments of anxiety or confusion regarding yours or a loved one's legal status, as well as U.S. immigration laws in general. Such laws are complex, and policies often change.

This makes it difficult for the average person to stay updated unless he or she happens to have a legal background and is well-versed in immigration issues. Encountering an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer might rank high on your list of potentially unsettling experiences. It's critical to know your rights and how to protect them if a problem arises.

Need help preparing for the naturalization process?

The circumstances by which you entered Texas may be similar or vastly different from those of other immigrants in your community. If you happen to be one of many people whose ultimate goal is to successfully navigate the naturalization process, you might be feeling excited yet nervous at the same time. Thorough preparation is definitely a key factor toward accomplishing your goals.

It's also a good idea to build a strong support network from the start. If you have friends or family members who have already become U.S. citizens, they can likely make recommendations as to what you should or should not do as you prepare for your citizenship test.

Entry-level positions that many immigrants pursue

If you're one of many Texas residents who happen to be an immigrant who traveled long distances to get here, you likely have already overcome numerous challenges in your journey. Once you successfully cross a U.S. border, you may encounter all sorts of issues that you must resolve in order to start building a new lifestyle. For instance, you have to have a place to live. 

You may also be in need of employment, or maybe you came here through an employment-based visa and you need to meet with your employer and take care of paperwork and other issues to start your new job. Many immigrants work entry-level jobs when they first arrive in the United States. It's critical that you have all your immigration documents in order when you begin seeking paid employment. If a legal status problem arises, it's also important to know where to seek support.

Protect yourself and your loved ones in case of detention

You might relate to many other Texas immigrants who say they often feel worried or afraid that a U.S. immigration officer is going to come to their house or workplace to arrest them and place them in detention. Thousands of immigrants are currently detained, many of whom are women and children. If you legally entered the United States, there are still issues that can place you at risk for deportation, such as failing to renew a visa after it expires.

There are several things you can do to be prepared for possible legal problems. It's a good idea to consider certain high priority issues, such as your health, finances and any dependents for whom you currently provide. If immigration officers approach you, it is always best to try to remain calm and cooperate as best you can. It's also good to carry contact information with you, so you can access legal support, as needed.

Factors to keep in mind when your plan includes US employment

You may be one of many potential immigrants whose ultimate goals include one day legally residing and working in Texas or another state. Perhaps you've heard numerous stories about others whose entries into the United States did not include proper paperwork, and you are hoping to avoid the serious legal problems they incurred when immigration officials discovered their undocumented statuses.   

A key to avoiding such problems is learning as much as you can ahead of time about U.S. immigration law, especially as it pertains to employment-based visas, as well as where to seek support if a problem arises. Laws are complex and often change, so it's critical to stay updated and to adjust your plan as necessary. If you follow the rules and have a strong support system in place, you may be able to secure employment and become a productive member of your new community in the United States. 

Are you confused about certain customs in the U.S.?

When you first arrived in Texas as an immigrant, you may have been excited as well as fearful. It's never easy adapting to a new lifestyle, and if you have a language barrier, it definitely adds to the challenge. You hopefully have friends and family nearby, preferably some who are U.S. citizens or who have already navigated the immigration process and can provide encouragement and support as you begin life in a new community.  

Many immigrants say there are numerous customs in the United States that caught them off guard when they first arrived. Perhaps you can relate to their confusion. You may also encounter legal issues that delay your progress or even threaten your ability to stay in Texas. If so, it is critical to know where to seek immediate support.  

Preparing for a Stokes interview? Read this first

If you are an immigrant married to a U.S. citizen and the U.S. government calls the validity of your marriage into question, you may have your work cut out to convince immigration officials otherwise. Emigrating may not have been your plan originally, but love has no borders, so here you are. You went through your first green card interview, but now have received a summons for a second interview, called a Stokes interview.

Government officials will request a Stokes interview if they suspect you and your spouse are faking your marriage to secure a green card or permanent resident visa. This formal immigration proceeding will determine whether you will be allowed to stay in the United States or face removal. Here are several key factors that may help you convince your interviewers that your marriage is legitimate.

Asylum facts you may need to know

One of the first things you should know about asylum is that not every person seeking it is eligible. The purpose of asylum is to protect those who are fleeing imminent danger or persecution in their countries of origin. You can request asylum at a border or entry location when you come to the United States. From there, you will take the next steps to obtain a legitimate immigration status as a refugee.  

As with most U.S. immigration law situations, there's a lot of paperwork to fill out to obtain the legal status you seek. Another thing about U.S. immigration law is that it's complex. It often changes, so you must stay updated on current regulations regarding the particular issue that concerns you. You may need to enlist help to achieve your immigration goals, especially if you have a language barrier or other problem that may impede your ability to smoothly navigate the asylum process. 

Are you an undocumented immigrant who was a victim of crime?

Coming to the United States to build a new life in Texas may have been one of the most challenging events in your life. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrival, legal worries may have tempered your situation as well. If you are one of many whose paperwork was not in order when you crossed the border into this state, you may have encountered some risky situations as you put down roots and began to work toward your goals.

You likely understood that living as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. would not be easy. However, you never imagined you would be the victim of a violent crime. When it happened, your first instinct may have been to call the police. If you hesitated for fear that authorities would discover your legal status and deport you, you are definitely not the first one to go through such a frightening experience. You'll be glad to know there are support systems available to help people in your situation.

Will one of these options help you avoid deportation?

Many immigrants come to Texas in search of better lives, only to wind up living in fear that the least little infraction (such as a traffic ticket) is going to get them deported. Whether you've been here for several decades or only just arrived, you probably know what it's like to lie awake at night and worry about your status. If you happen to be undocumented, such fears are usually greatly intensified.

Just because police stop you or immigration officials question you, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be subject to removal. Yes, officials may detain you, and you might have to go through a complicated and stressful process, but you may have options that can help keep deportation at bay.