Florida residents who find themselves needing to replace a green card may be interested in knowing more about the process. Because a green card provides proof of immigration status and authorization to live and work in the country, it is important that permanent residents carry this form of identification with them at all times. According to information supplied by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, individuals over the age of 18 who do not have a valid green card in their possession could be subject to misdemeanor charges.
People in Florida who are working towards naturalization as U.S. citizens generally know that the final step involves the naturalization ceremony, but they may not know what to expect. Prior to being scheduled to attend the ceremony, the other steps, including taking the civics and language tests as well as sitting for the naturalization interview, will need to be completed.
In immigration matters, children of naturalized U.S. citizens are granted special priority. The law makes a distinction, though, based on the marital status and age of the child involved. That is, unmarried children under 21 years of age are categorized as immediate relatives, while married children and children over 21 are placed in the family preference category. Immediate relatives living in Florida or elsewhere have a simpler path to permanent residency because an unlimited number of visas have been made available for people who meet the requirements of the category. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens need not wait for a visa number and may begin the process of securing permanent residency by filing Form I-485 at the same time that the citizen sponsor files Form I-130. Other forms may be required as well.
Over 9,000 people were sworn in as United States citizens in ceremonies in Florida and throughout the country during the first week of July. Sites such as Mount Rushmore, the White House and the U.S.S. Midway welcomed people from Afghanistan, India and Iraq. At Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, 102 people were sworn in on July 4. As one newly minted citizen proclaimed, it was akin to getting married on New Year's Eve.
Reports say that the Florida State Senate recently approved a new measure that could allow unauthorized immigrants to become attorneys in the state. The bill is now set to go before the House.
A federal judge has given the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, 60 days to make a final determination on the application for permanent residency filed by an Iranian immigrant in April of 2001. After waiting for twelve years for his application to be approved or denied, the immigrant filed a lawsuit against the government forcing it to make a decision in his immigration case. While this case is unique, the courts will generally find a delay in excess of six years to be unreasonable for immigrants seeking permanent residency in Florida or anywhere in the United States.
In an issue important to Florida and the rest of the nation, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform package in June 2013, but the effort remains stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. At this point, it appears the House wishes to take a more piecemeal approach to immigration by writing separate laws to deal with the larger issue. However, many inside and outside of Washington, D.C. feel there is a short window for meaningful reform once the primary season has passed for House members in conservative districts.
Some Florida companies are helping immigrant employees to reach their goal of becoming U.S. citizens. They have formed a partnership with National Immigration Forum for the purpose of providing free assistance for all employees who meet the eligibility requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen. To be eligible, an applicant must be 18 years of age or older and a permanent resident for at least five years (three if married to a U.S. citizen).
Anyone who has dealt with immigration issues understands how complicated the system is. The hurdles people often jump through in order to obtain legal status in the United States are often very high, which may be especially true when applying for permanent residency or citizenship.
Some residents here in Florida may be familiar with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. For those who may not be familiar with this act, it was established to make registration and voting easier for all Americans. But several states have challenged this federal law, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, with another 12 other states contemplating similar actions. These states are challenging the law by requiring voters to prove U.S. citizenship prior to voting--something the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to be unlawful this month.