Overview of Diversity in Houston
Houston has one of the highest concentration and fastest growing population of immigrants in America. More than a million immigrants and refugees call Houston their home. However, 63% of Houston immigrants are non-citizens, and more than 500,000 residents are undocumented. Even though immigrants contribute significantly to their state and local economy, they still face considerable challenges. For many people, cost, educational gaps, and lack of high-quality legal assistance are all barriers that prevent them from applying for some form of legal status. Every situation is different, but if you are escaping economic hardship, some terrible event, or have been an undocumented immigrant for years, the following information could help you secure a safe life in America.
Community Based Immigration Assistance
Becoming a citizen can be a complicated process. The first step would be to obtain a green card for permanent residency. This would allow you to work, as well as live, in the United States without a time limit. In order to apply, you must first qualify by meeting one of the following requirements: being an immediate relative to a U.S. citizen; be a preferred employee or worker; be a green card lottery winner; qualify as a special immigrant; or qualify for asylum. Long time residents, who have been here for at least 10 years, may also apply when facing immigration court proceedings. Once you’ve held your green card for 5 years, you may apply for citizenship once you have: reached at least 18 years of age; maintained at least 5 years of continuous residence in the U.S.; pass an english test; prove that you are of good moral character; and affirm that you are willing to support the principles of the constitution.
Deferred Action programs and attainability
In 2012, the Obama administration passed the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA); a powerful program that allowed certain young immigrants from avoiding deportation. If you are in 120-150 days within your renewal window, you can now apply for DACA renewal.
However, due to the Trump administration and recent policies, no new DACA applications can be filed as of now. However, other possibilities may be available for you. In all cases, it would be wise to receive legal consultation if you believe you may have the option to be granted legal status.
If you or a family member are facing deportation charges, or is being held by the United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it would be in your best interest to get legal help from a defense attorney. Immigration law can be confusing, and in deportation cases your life is at stake. Protecting your interest and rights are best left in the hands of a professional who understands the complicated U.S. immigration system.
Implications for immigrants in Houston
Houston is an incredible city for immigrants. It is welcoming and immigrants have recently received verbal support from the mayor. However, the city of Houston isn’t representative of the federal government. The new presidential administration is cracking down on immigration and many people face deportation.
Benefits of having a lawyer
Immigration laws, and the process of applying for legal status, are complicated and can quickly become convoluted. You have a right to protect your new life, and should do it with the help of an attorney who understand the complex immigration system in America. There are a number of attorneys who understand Immigration Law in Houston and are committed to providing quality legal representation for all areas of immigration. Missing documents, misinformation, and inexperienced attorneys who failed to explain all of their client’s options are some of the biggest challenges people face in their immigration cases. With so much at stake, you can not let that be you. Get informed on your options, and get the competent legal help you need, to secure the life you built in Houston.