Best Immigration Lawyers Houston, Texas Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Whether you’re new to the city or have been calling Houston home for a while, understanding immigration laws and how they apply to your unique circumstances can be challenging. Here is a brief rundown of the most important immigration laws in Houston.

Who Is Covered By Immigration Laws in Houston, Texas?

Immigration laws in Houston, Texas, follow the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Among other provisions, the INA outlines who can enter the country, how long they can stay and what they can do while they are in the United States. The act also provides the framework for law enforcement, including detention and removal procedures. Here are the various categories of individuals covered in the legislation:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs), also called green-card holders, are granted the right to live permanently in the United States.
  • Nonimmigrants. Nonimmigrants, such as temporary workers, students and tourists, are typically admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis.
  • Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Asylum-seekers and refugees are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to persecution or fear of persecution. If eligible, they may be permitted to stay in the United States.
  • Undocumented Immigrants. Undocumented immigrants are people who entered the U.S. without inspection and permission or overstayed their visas.

Major exclusions from these categories include individuals with certain health conditions, those who have committed specific crimes and people considered a threat to national security.

Immigrant Rights Under Texas Immigration Laws

Understanding your rights and responsibilities as an immigrant is vital to protecting your interests. In Texas, immigrants have certain constitutional rights regardless of their immigration status, such as the right to remain silent when questioned and the right to legal representation. Immigrants are also protected from unreasonable search and seizure.

As an immigrant, you also have the right to due process, meaning you must receive fair treatment, including a “full and fair” immigration hearing. Your rights also include access to vital public services, such as emergency medical care and education for your children, regardless of immigration status.

However, immigrants in Texas must also fulfill certain responsibilities, such as complying with federal immigration laws and regulations. Additionally, you are expected to abide by state and local laws.

Texas Laws That Impact Immigrants

While most immigration rules and regulations are based on federal law, state laws in Texas can impact your rights. One such law is Senate Bill 4 (SB4), also called the “anti-sanctuary city” law. Among other provisions, SB4 allows police officers to inquire about your immigration status during traffic stops and other routine encounters.

Like many other states, Texas participates in the federal E-Verify program. The program allows employers to verify their workers’ employment eligibility by confirming their immigration status electronically. E-Verify helps prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining employment in Texas and ensures that businesses comply with immigration laws.

Filing Process for Immigration in Houston, TX

The immigration filing process in Houston involves several steps. First, you must determine the appropriate immigration pathway for you or your family members, whether employment-based, family-based or humanitarian relief. Once you have identified your route, you’ll need to gather the necessary supporting documents to apply, such as passports, birth certificates and proof of sponsorship.

Next, you must complete and submit the required immigration forms correctly and timely, whether you’re applying for a visa, work permit, green card or other immigration benefits. Consider working with an immigration attorney, as immigration documents must be completed according to instructions and guidelines provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You’ll also have to pay the applicable filing fees and undergo biometric appointments and interviews.

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