Facts about Immigration in Montana and the U.S.:
In 2014, there were approximately 42.4 million immigrants in the U.S. according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS). That equates to roughly 13.3 percent of the U.S. population.
On the other hand, only 2.3 percent of Montana’s population is foreign born.
47 percent of immigrants in the U.S. are naturalized citizens.
Immigrating to Montana
Immigrants who want to travel to Montana are urged to go through the proper legal channels because being an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. is difficult. Undocumented immigrants must skirt the laws to work and face deportation, a daunting prospect if their families live in the states.
In Montana, law enforcement agencies participate in a federal program called Secure Communities, so an arrest for something minor can result in deportation. Immigration enforcement can also entail immigration raids in communities and workplaces, so it’s best to go take whatever steps are necessary to get a visa, asylum, humanitarian parole or other authorization before coming to the U.S.
If an immigrant is undocumented, they may be able to adjust their status or avoid being barred from the U.S. An immigration attorney in Montana can help with an adjustment of status.
Visas, asylum, and other legal statuses
There are different means for an immigrant to obtain legal status. They can apply for a visa, claim asylum or be granted humanitarian parole.
There are dozens of visas available to immigrants who want to start a business, attend a U.S. university or visit family. Visas fall into the following categories:
Immigrant Visa vs. Nonimmigrant Visa in Montana
All visas issued for travel or work in Montana are either immigrant or nonimmigrant visas. (The H-1B visa is an exception.) In 2015, the U.S. State Department issued over 10 million nonimmigrant visas which authorize temporary work or travel. Nonimmigrant visa holders aren’t allowed to apply for a green card. Immigrant visas are granted to individuals who plan on immigrating to the U.S. for extended periods of time or move to the country. In 2015, the State Department issued 531,463 immigrant visas in 2015. Immigrant visas are issued for employment, family sponsorship or sponsorship of a fiancé(e) or spouse.
The H-1B visa can be used for temporary or permanent immigration. These visas are issued to highly-skilled workers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. An immigrant must be sponsored by an employer to get an H-1B visa.
Other immigration statuses:
Legal permanent residency and U.S. citizenship
A legal permanent resident can work and live in the U.S. indefinitely as long as they renew their status as required by law. There are many benefits to being a green card holder which you can explore by visiting the USCIS website.
A majority of immigrants strive to become naturalized citizens, but the process can be tough. Immigrants should retain an immigration lawyer in Montana to assist with their applications, interviews with immigration agents and other aspects of the process.