Foreigners in Pennsylvania who have conditions on their permanent residence status based on marriage may have those conditions removed after two years. A person who marries a U.S. citizen and becomes a permanent resident must wait two years to have conditions removed so that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can be sure that the marriage was not fraudulent.
Individuals who have married an American citizen may apply for marriage-based visas in addition to other pathways to legal residency. There are specific requirements for each type of benefit for which petitioners apply.
When U.S. citizens marry foreign nationals, their spouse does not automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. Most of us in Reading realize this. Having a U.S. citizen as a family member, however, can make the naturalization process a lot quicker. Unlike most immigrants who must spend five years as U.S. permanent residents before they can apply for naturalization, foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens need only spend three years as permanent residents before applying.
We have spoken extensively about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Obama started in 2012. This program allowed young people who were brought to the country outside of the immigration system to receive a work permit and a deferral from deportation. The program has worked well and many immigrants appreciate the work the president has done on behalf of this large group of immigrants (although many also don't think he has gone far enough), but it has also had some unforeseen consequences.
When someone from Lancaster County joins the military, most people are grateful for his or her service. The sacrifices he or she makes benefit us all. Yet for members of the military and veterans who have immediate family members who are immigrants without a legal status, the fear is that the same country they are fighting to protect could be deporting their loved ones.
It hasn't been that long since Typhoon Haiyan caused untold devastation to the Philippines. There were a large number of people killed in this massive storm and severe damage was done across the country. For many of the people living in the Philippines, the cost and stress of rebuilding may be too much, and some may be looking to family members in the U.S. for help.
We have previously talked about how the U.S. immigration system allows for American citizens to sponsor their spouses for immigration visas, but just because two people are married doesn't mean that they will always be able to be together. Take, for example, the case of a couple who had to wait for quite a while before the husband was able to get a green card and join his wife in the United States. For them, the immigration system kept their family apart for two long years.
Cuban-Americans in Pennsylvania have likely heard that the United States has announced that it will start negotiations next month with Cuba regarding migration. For anyone with a relative still in Cuba, this could be an important step toward bringing him or her to the United States and to hopefully sponsor the family member with his or her application for permanent residency. This has been a privilege for most Americans with family members abroad, but one that very few Cuban-Americans have been able to take advantage of.
This blog has previously talked about the way in which both the current immigration law and the federal Defense of Marriage Act have made it difficult for binational same-sex couples in Pennsylvania to remain together. Now, with the Senate's rejection of an amendment that would have allowed same-sex couples the right to sponsor their spouses for permanent residence and citizenship, many Lancaster couples are looking to the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing those couples who were married in states that allow for same-sex marriage to sponsor their spouses.
Although Reading residents may know about the widespread immigration reform that is being discussed in Congress, they may not realize why same-sex couples are desperately pushing for a voice at the table. It is true that many states are recognizing same-sex relationships, either through marriage, civil unions or some kind of domestic partnership, but that doesn't mean that the federal government does. And, until it does, same-sex couples cannot use the same family based immigration system that anyone else in Reading would use to bring a foreign spouse or fiancé(e) over to Pennsylvania.