Steve Laxton, Immigration Lawyer
Fluent in Spanish
112 West Oak Street
Sparta, WI 54656
Services Offered: Deportation defense, documentation guidance, visas
Lynum Law Office
310 Main Street
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Services Offered: Immigration Law
U.S. immigration law is complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. Immigration law in the United States has been built upon the following principles: the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity. Click here to see the fact sheet that provides basic information about how the U.S. legal immigration system is designed and functions.
The body of law governing current immigration policy is called The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA allows the United States to grant up to 675,000 permanent immigrant visas each year across various visa categories. On top of those 675,000 visas, the INA sets no limit on the annual admission of U.S. citizens’ spouses, parents, and children under the age of 21. In addition, each year the president is required to consult with Congress and set an annual number of refugees to be admitted to the United States through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Process.
Once a person obtains an immigrant visa and comes to the United States, they become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). In some circumstances, noncitizens already inside the United States can obtain LPR status through a process known as “adjustment of status.” Lawful permanent residents are foreign nationals who are permitted to work and live lawfully and permanently in the United States. LPRs are eligible to apply for nearly all jobs (i.e., jobs not legitimately restricted to U.S. citizens) and can remain in the country permanently, even if they are unemployed. After residing in the United States for five years (or three years in some circumstances), LPRs are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. It is impossible to apply for citizenship through the normal process without first becoming an LPR. Each year the United States also admits a variety of non-citizens on a temporary basis. Such “non-immigrant” visas are granted to everyone from tourists to foreign students to temporary workers permitted to remain in the U.S. for years. While certain employment-based visas are subject to annual caps, other non-immigrant visas (including tourist and student visas) have no numerical limits and can be granted to anyone who satisfies the criteria for obtaining the visa.*
*Information courtesy of the American Immigration Council
**Getting Info about a loved one in ICE custody*
- Call your consulate.