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Rapid City Lawyers Guide South Dakota Immigrants Toward Green Card Benefits

— September 15, 2022

One of the biggest benefits of having a Green Card is the fact that travel into or out of the United States becomes much easier.

The United States Citizenship Act establishes a path to citizenship for certain undocumented individuals. The bill also replaces the term alien with noncitizen in the immigration statutes and addresses other related issues.  A lawful prospective immigrant status may be available to noncitizens who are applying for a green card that meet certain requirements, including continued presence in the United States starting on January 1, 2021 and passing all necessary background checks required by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Under this status, and after at least five years, eligible noncitizens may apply for and receive permanent resident status.  The bill addresses eligible noncitizens who entered the United States as a minor, were eligible for temporary protected status, or  deferred enforced department on January 1, 2017, and agricultural workers who have worked for five years before applying.  A Rapid City immigration attorney can assist noncitizens who are making application for a green card in South Dakota.  

Lawful permanent resident

A lawful permanent resident (LPR) or “green card” recipient is an noncitizen who has been granted “the status of having been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration laws, such status not having changed.”  LPRs are not safe from deportation if they have been convicted of certain crimes, including various felonies.  If you have been convicted of a crime and are concerned that the charges may cause you to be deported, contact an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.  

Criminal activity causing deportation

There is a long list of felony crimes that can cause a legal immigrant to be deported.  At the top of the list are serious infractions of law that include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, firearms offenses, money laundering, arson, violent crimes, and thefts.  Legal immigrants should understand the laws that will impact deportable offenses and speak to legal counsel as soon as possible after being arrested and charged with a crime, even a misdemeanor.  

Green card holder benefits

Immigrants in the United States who have been granted a Green Card and are considered permanent legal residents and should understand their benefits and the necessary process of green card renewal to avoid serious problems that may impact deportation or the inability to access those benefits including:

Sign saying "Immigrants make America Great" and one saying "No Hate, No Fear, Refugees are Welcome here;" image by Nitish Meena, via
Sign saying “Immigrants make America Great” and one saying “No Hate, No Fear, Refugees are Welcome here;” image by Nitish Meena, via
  • Sponsorship of immediate relatives.  Green Card holders may be eligible to sponsor immediate family members so that they can join them in the United States.
  • Attendance at institutes of higher education as a lesser cost.  Most colleges, universities, or vocational schools normally charge out-of-state and international students significantly higher tuition, and with a green card noncitizens can access student loans and other funding sources.
  • Contribute to political campaigns.
  • Travel in and out of the United States with less restrictions. One of the biggest benefits of having a Green Card is the fact that travel into or out of the United States becomes much easier than if you hold a student or temporary visa.
  • Gain access to social security benefits.  Green Card holders also generally qualify for these benefits.
  • Potential for career advancement.  A wider range of career opportunities become available. Whereas most immigrants would need a company to sponsor their work visa, as legal permanent residents, Green Card holders are free to work at virtually any company in the U.S. They can also start their own business or embark on another adventure as an entrepreneur.

Seek legal counsel

Talk to experienced immigration attorneys in Rapid City regarding legal services for immigration, including application for green cards and defense of any infractions of the law that may impact the status of a legal immigrant. 


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