Another option is to ask for an adjustment of your status, essentially stopping the deportation process by applying for a Green Card.
Florida has one of the largest immigrant populations in the US. One in five Florida residents is foreign-born. Of the estimated 4.2 million immigrants in Florida, roughly 750.000 people are undocumented immigrants. Many of them have lived for years in the Sunshine State, but they risk being deported if they are discovered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There’s no need to live in fear of deportation, when all you have to do is look up the best Florida immigration lawyers and get your papers in order.
Florida is home to a large community of Cuban-born immigrants. Years ago, during the Castro regime it was easy to get a visa or legal residence if you made it to Florida. Things have changed now, so Cubans need to follow the same rules as other immigrants when they want to apply for a Green Card.
What is a Green Card? That’s the common name for the Legal Permanent Resident card, the document that allows you to live and work in the US legally. There are many ways you can get a Green Card, but you should make sure to use the services of a skilled immigration lawyer in Jacksonville or whatever city you live in.
The main reason you should get in touch with an attorney and start the process of getting a Green Card is that you don’t want to run the risk of being deported. The state of Florida has implemented the federal Secure Communities program. If you’re arrested for whatever offense and the police has reason to believe you’re undocumented, they will check your immigration status. If it turns out that you’re not a legal resident, they will call immigration authorities to pick you up. And you’re in real trouble.
Undocumented individuals are usually detained pending a deportation trial. If you have a seasoned immigration lawyer, they might be able to have you released on bond. Not all immigrants are eligible for bonds and it’s not cheap. It might cost you between $1,500 and $20,000, but at least you regain your freedom and it will be easier to prepare your defense strategy for that crucial deportation trial.
Your lawyer will review your file and decide what approach works best. If you risk being persecuted or tortured in your country of origin, they will advise you to seek asylum in the US. You must show that you’ve been living in the US for one year to do that.
Another option is to ask for an adjustment of your status, essentially stopping the deportation process by applying for a Green Card. You’ll need a sponsor, usually a family member who is a legal resident or an American citizen. Or your employer might sponsor you, but you’ll have to meet special criteria.
The problem is that there are so many different forms to fill in and you must make sure to use the right one. Any little mistake can result in your application being denied. Also, keep in mind that it’s a lengthy process. It can take more than one year to get your Green Card. If, for some reason, your application is rejected you’ll have to start all over again and wait for another year. If you choose a smart lawyer from the very beginning they’ll see to it that your papers are in order and you’ll get the Green Card as soon as possible.