The United States of America has a complex and intricate set of laws and regulations governing immigration and deportation. These laws are crucial in determining who can enter the country, under what circumstances they can stay and who may be required to leave.
Understanding the legal framework surrounding immigration and deportation is essential for individuals and businesses that hire immigrants alike.
The foundation: Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) serves as the cornerstone of U.S. immigration law. Enacted in 1952, the INA governs the admission, stay and removal of foreign nationals in the United States. It provides the legal framework for various visa categories, establishes eligibility criteria and outlines the rights and responsibilities of immigrants.
There are two main visa categories. The first is nonimmigrant visas which are temporary and cover various purposes, such as:
- Tourism (B-2 visa)
- Business visits (B-1 visa)
- Study (F-1 visa)
- Work (H-1B visa)
The second category is the immigrant visas for individuals seeking permanent residency in the U.S. They include:
- Family-sponsored visas
- Employment-based visas
- Diversity visas (DV)
Enforcement and deportation
Two federal agencies primarily carry out the enforcement of immigration laws in the U.S. The first is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which oversees lawful immigration to the U.S., including:
- The processing of visa petitions
- Naturalization applications
- Employment authorization
The second federal agency is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is responsible for the enforcement and removal of individuals who violate immigration laws by:
- Overstaying their authorized period of stay
- Getting convicted of certain crimes
- Entering or remaining in the US without proper authorization
- Acquiring unauthorized employment
Navigating the intricacies of immigration and deportation laws in the United States can be challenging. However, aspiring immigrants and the businesses that are interested in hiring them can seek clarifying legal guidance at any time.