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Immigrating to Arizona

Because it sits on the Southern Border, Arizona has a large immigrant population. The Migration Policy Institute reports that 919,559 foreign-born nationals were living in the state in 2014. Many immigrants in Arizona entered legally, but there is a large population if undocumented immigrants in the Grand Canyon State. Immigrating to the U.S. can be challenging, but it is also rewarding.

Visa Categories and immigration statuses

Nonimmigrant visas- These visas are granted to individuals who would like come to the U.S. temporarily but do not intend to immigrate permanently. Many nonimmigrant visas are issued for seasonal work in a variety of fields when the demand for labor is high. Nonimmigrant visas are often granted to immigrants who work in the hospitality and agricultural industries. According to statistics from the State Department, 21,613 employment-based nonimmigrant visas were issued to individuals in 2015.

Immigrant visa- Immigrant visas are issued to individuals who plan on living and working in the U.S. permanently. Data from the State Department shows that family-based visas were the most commonly issued visas at foreign posts. Immigrant visas are issued to immigrants for work or because of an immigrant’ family ties to legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens. Fiancés or spouses of legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens are also eligible for immigrant visas.

Legal permanent resident- A legal permanent resident is also known as a green card holder. Immigrants with legal permanent resident status can work and live in the U.S. indefinitely and travel freely within the U.S. and internationally. But they are not considered U.S. citizens, so they have limited rights and benefits. Green card holders don’t have the right to vote and cannot collect certain public benefits.

Refugee status- Immigrants who are living in a war-torn area, face persecution for their lifestyle or religious or political affiliation, or are in physical danger can seek asylum in the U.S. If they qualify for refugee status, There is a long and thorough vetting process involved before an immigrant is granted refugee status.

Undocumented- Pew Research Center reports that over 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the U.S. That figure accounts for 3.5 percent of the country’s population. Entering the U.S. without authorization or overstaying a visa is a violation of U.S. immigration laws

Cross-border passes

Many Mexicans near the Arizona border need to cross into the state to go back and forth to work and home. Data from the State Department shows that federal immigration authorities issued 1,203,876 B1/B2/Border Crossing Cards in 2015.

Arizona Immigration laws

Arizona has a high number or documented and undocumented immigrants, so the state has enacted tough immigration laws. That is why it is critical immigrants in Arizona get legal assistance with immigration issue they have. Although many provisions of S.B. 1070 were blocked after several years of litigation, some tough provisions were enacted.

Law enforcement in Arizona are required to run checks on individuals they have a reasonable suspicion is an undocumented immigrant. If an immigrant is undocumented, law enforcement agencies can detain an individual until immigration authorities pick them up.
The Legal Arizona Workers Act forbids employers from knowingly employing unauthorized workers, which is in line with federal law, but the state can impose penalties. Employers face penalties and could lose their business license. The law also makes it a crime for an immigrant to seek work.

If you are an immigrant and want to apply for an employment or family-based visa, asylum application or need to fight an order of removal, USAttorneys recommends you get legal assistance. We have knowledgeable immigration attorneys in Arizona who can help you with a broad range of immigration issues.