For anyone wishing to travel to the United States, whether to settle permanently or for a visit, the first step is obtaining a U.S. visa. A visa is a legal document which allows a foreign national to travel to a U.S. port of entry. For most travelers this will be an airport in the U.S. For those entering the U.S. through Florida, several ports of entry are available.
Like other places in the U.S., over the last two years Florida has seen a surge in undocumented immigrants fleeing gang violence in Central America. The surge began in 2014 and is continuing. The Department of Homeland Security expects that the number of families from Central America entering the U.S. illegally this year will be higher than the number in 2014. Now the Obama administration is delaying the deportation proceedings of about 56,000 of these immigrants for several years.
When a U.S. immigration judge determines that an immigrant is deportable, a few avenues of relief are still available. Anyone facing removal proceedings in Florida needs to respond quickly, however, in order to avoid deportation.
Throughout this country's history immigrants have volunteered to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Many have given their lives for this country. In Florida there are many veterans who joined the military as immigrants. For them and their family members, military service has often been a first step on the road to becoming a U.S. citizen.
Most Florida residents who follow immigration news are probably aware that the Obama administration has carried out more deportations of undocumented immigrants than either the Bush or Clinton administrations. Deportations began to rise in 1996 and increased significantly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which led to the devotion of greater resources to immigration enforcement.
Not everyone who comes to the United States intends to stay permanently. Many people come temporarily in connection with their business, job or profession. Whether they are business people, artists, exchange students, investors or athletes, they all need a non-immigrant visa in order to enter the U.S. At the Law Firm of Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt, P.A. we can help these individuals and their employers obtain the correct visa type for their stay in Florida or anywhere else in the U.S.
When an individual is accused of a crime in the United States, the U.S. Constitution guarantees them the right to an attorney. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender at no charge to the defendant. But, immigrants in Florida who are detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and facing deportation proceedings have no right to a court-appointed lawyer. They do have the right to hire counsel at their own expense, but this is beyond the means of many detainees.
Many people in Florida are aware that for some time there has been a wave of people coming to the U.S. border from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, some of the most violent places on earth. The migration peaked in 2014 when thousands of unaccompanied children crossed the border in Texas. Until recently, many were turned away and sent back to their home countries, often at great risk of being killed.
When an immigrant in Florida receives notice of deportation proceedings, a great deal is at stake. Deportation from the United States, particularly for a person who has been here for years and may have a family, is a traumatic and life-altering event. Once a person is deported, he can be barred from ever returning to the U.S., even for a short visit.
Many people come to Florida and throughout the United States from other countries for a specific period of time and decide that they want to stay longer. While many might make the mistake of simply not going back to their home country without having legal status in the U.S., there are many reasons why it is advisable for a person to seek to be granted an extension to stay. Those who are interested in an extension need to make sure to go through the legal process for doing so to prevent running afoul with the law and avoiding the various punishments that can come from a violation.