Florida is home to numerous immigrants from Central American and Caribbean nations. According to one survey about one in five residents of the state was born in another country. Latinos are a major part of the immigrant community, and make up more than 23 percent of the state's population.
Throughout the history of the United States, people fleeing oppression and persecution in other lands have come here to start a new life in safety. Many apply for asylum under U.S. immigration law. If their application is approved, they can remain in the U.S.
For many immigrants in the Miami area, permanent residency and citizenship are dreams they have pursued for many years. Others want to come to the U.S. to join family members who are already here. Still others simply want to work or study in the U.S. for a few years before returning to their homelands. Whatever people's goals in coming to the U.S., it is essential to understand their rights and obligations under U.S. immigration law.
Many immigrants in Florida were closely watching as two bills were introduced in the State Legislature recently. The two bills would have significantly increased the penalties for undocumented immigrants, prohibited Florida cities from declaring themselves sanctuaries for immigrants and would have required local law enforcement authorities to work with federal agencies in enforcing U.S. immigration law.
In the current U.S. presidential election campaign, some candidates have gone out of their way to vilify and demonize undocumented immigrants. At the same time, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, sometimes working alongside state and local law enforcement, have been aggressively pursuing undocumented workers. For those hard-working immigrants who have come to the U.S. to escape crime and unrest in their homelands, deportation and separation from their families is possibility they live with on a daily basis.
It is all but inevitable that in any political debate, the topic of immigration will be brought up. It is a contentious one, to be sure, but too many people make the mistake of oversimplifying the extremely complicated laws and proposed laws related to immigration. This can lead to considerable confusion, wrongful assumptions and misguided decision-making.
Immigrating to the United States poses its own set of unique challenges. You may be applying for a work or study visa, or you could be looking to permanently move to the United States as a long-term resident. Even as a short-term visitor, you're given many of the same rights as citizens of the country.
Immigration laws in the U.S. are very complex and strict. As such, it can be an incredible challenge for immigrants and their families to understand and comply with them. Unfortunately, if you or a loved one is accused of violating laws or the restrictions of a visa, knowingly or not, there can still be harsh penalties to face, including deportation.
Visitors from all over the world travel to the U.S. every day for many reasons. Whether a person enters as a tourist, for business or school or to visit family, they will need to comply with federal immigration laws and visa requirements.
The United States' immigration policies and laws are notoriously complex and mired in various bureaucratic requirements and restrictions. Consequently, individuals who, for a variety of reasons, are seeking to come to the U.S. often feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the process.