would like to be referred to a High Profile Immigration Law Lawyer,
please click here.
Federal immigration law determines whether a person is an alien,
and associated legal rights, duties, and obligations of aliens
in the United states. It also provides means by which certain
aliens can become naturalized citizens with full rights of citizenship.
Immigration law serves as a gatekeeper for the nation's border:
it determines who may enter, how long they may stay and when they
The United States has a long history of immigration laws. The
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, (INA) with some major,
and many minor changes, continues to be the basic immigration
law of the country. The most significant ammendment to the INA
was in 1965 which abolished the natural origin provisions, and
established a new quota system.
For INA purposes, an "alien" is any person who is not
a citizen or a national of the United States. There are different
categories of aliens: resident and nonresident, immigrant and
nonimmigrant, documented and undocumented ("illegal"
States have limited legislative authority regarding immigration,
and 28 U.S.C. § 1251 details the full extent of state jurisdiction.
Generally, 28 U.S.C. § 994 nt details the federal sentencing
guidelines for illegal entry into the country.
Congress has total and complete authority over immigration. Power
of the President is limited to policies on refugees. Unless the
issue concerns the rights of aliens to constitutional protections
the courts have rarely intruded.
The need to stem illegal immigration prompted Congress to enact
the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. The IRCA
toughened criminal sanctions for employers who hire illegal aliens,
denied illegal aliens federally funded welfare benefits, and legitimized
some aliens through an amnesty program. The Immigration Marriage
Fraud Amendments of 1986 sought to limit the practice of marrying
to obtain citizenship. The Immigration Act of 1990 thoroughly
revamped the INA making allocation of visas more even among foreign
nations, eliminating archaic rules, and increasing the level of
The goals in immigration policies are achieved by granting or
denying visas. There are two types of visas: immigrant and nonimmigrant.
Nonimmigrant visas are primary issued to tourists and temporary
business visitors. Nonimmigrant visas are divided into eighteen
main categories, and the number of visas in most categories are
not limited. Only a few categories of non-immigrant visas allow
their holders work in the United States. Immigrant visas permit
their holders to stay in the United States permanently and ultimately
to apply for citizenship. An alien who has an immigrant visa is
permitted to work in the United States. Congress limits the overall
number of immigrant visas, which was 675,000 in 1995. Many immigrant
visas are also subject to per-country caps.
If you have any questions about the information provided above, please contact us.
Call us or click here
to get a referral to an ASN's panel lawyer or law firm.
Go back to Top