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#USImmigrationLaw: What Will Affect My Citizenship Application?

You're applying for citizenship in the US and wondering what issues will impact your application. There are many factors that go into a final determination about whether to grant status, and an initial denial does not necessarily mean you have no chances of becoming an American. But there are some specific matters that will impact the determination. Let's briefly examine them here.

#USImmigrationLaw: 5 Tips for Your Stokes Interview

When you and your spouse go to a Stokes interview, be prepared to answer many detailed and difficult questions about your lives together, separately. Even couples who truly love each other can get very nervous about this kind of interview, and for good reason.

A Stokes interview is when you and your spouse are separately questioned by an immigration officer about all aspects of your marriage to prove that it is not a fraud. You will be notified in advance of the interview and informed of any documentation to bring. Here are five tips on how to prepare and handle it.

After the Skilled Worker Visa Lottery, Are There Options?

If you think Americans are lucky, kind of like lottery winners, you are right. This year, nearly a quarter million highly skilled foreign workers applied for H -1B visas to remain in the US but only 85,000 visas were available, so the government chose the recipients by lottery.

Last week, reports The Wall Street Journal, demand for foreign skilled-worker visas surpassed the entire year's mandated supply within five days. When that happens, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) awards the visas randomly among applicants. It's called a visa lottery.

#USImmigrationLaw: What Does 'Changed Circumstances' Mean?

Changed circumstances in asylum law refers to an exception to the one-year filing requirement for applications. Usually, applicants must file their request with the US government within a year of arrival here or their claim will be considered untimely.

But because asylum is based on danger -- it's a request for protection in the form of immigration status and benefits -- there are exceptions to this deadline when there are particular changes in the law, your life, or conditions in your home country. Let's look at asylum basics and the kind of changes that qualify for the exception for the purposes of asylum applications.

#USImmigrationLaw: Affirmative and Defensive Asylum Applications

An affirmative or defensive asylum application is based on fear of persecution. An asylum seeker asks the government for protection, in the form of permission to remain in the United States legally, because they are being persecuted at home.

People who apply for asylum must prove that they can't go home because their lives are threatened based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political affiliations. Unlike refugees, who apply for protected status from the United Nations before they enter the US, asylum seekers apply while on America soil. There are two types of asylum applications -- affirmative and defensive. Let's look at both briefly.

#USImmigrationLaw: What Is a Sham Marriage?

A sham is something fake, and the word applies to anything from bedding to marriages. A pillow sham, for example, is an ornamental cover, for surface effect only. It's what you put on a pillow to make it look good.

Similarly, a sham marriage dresses up a person's legal status. It is a union entered into for immigration benefits, not one based on two people's genuine desire to share their lives. US immigration law recognizes marriage as a basis for adjustment of status, so people do marry for the legal advantages. But faking a union is not like dressing a bed -- it's much more difficult -- and immigration officers do review to ensure that marriages are bona fide, or true.

#USImmigrationLaw: What If I Overstay My Visa?

You came to the United States and decided to remain ... maybe even just a little longer. What will happen if you overstay your visa?

The answer to that question is not simple. It can depend on how you came, why you are staying, and more. Almost every rule has exceptions -- perhaps you can't go home or you need to stay for reasons recognized by the law. Let's take a look at some general rules that will give you the tools to consider your situation.

It happens about this time every four years or so -- American voters, faced with the prospect of their disfavored candidate becoming president, threaten to flee to Canada if he or she is elected. This election cycle, the Canadian emigration candidate seems to be Donald Trump.

After Trump nabbed seven of eleven states on Super Tuesday, US-based Google searches for "move to Canada" soared to a ten-year high. So if you're considering a move to the Great White North to avoid a Trump (or Cruz, or Clinton, or Sanders) presidency, do you need to get a lawyer?

Unless you are a citizen by birth, gaining U.S. citizenship can be a long, extensive, and complicated process. And while it may not be legally required for you to hire an immigration lawyer to file for citizenship, it may be a good idea to have someone with some professional experience on your side to guide you through the process.

Whether you have difficulty understanding English, need assistance gathering the necessary documents, or just want to know why some applications are denied so you can avoid the same fate, there are times when you might want a lawyer to file for citizenship.

Ordered Deported: Are Immigration Raids Legal?

Undocumented immigrants in New York are panicking over reports of raids by authorities, according to the New York Times. But an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official confirmed that no unusual enforcement actions are happening in that state.

That said, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did arrest 121 people in the US over the weekend, targeting Central American migrants who arrived in 2014. All reportedly already had orders of deportation issued after their asylum claims were denied or they failed to appear in court. Authorities can legally remove people whose legal process is complete. But the government does make mistakes.