Temporary-worker visas and employment-based visas are great ways to supplement your workforce with qualified employees. However, the process for hiring a foreign employee for either temporary or permanent employment can be time consuming and complex. Contact an experienced immigration lawyer at our firm today to learn more about the visa process.
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Government Agencies and Their Duties
More than one U.S. government agency is involved with implementing and enforcing U.S. immigration law and policy. Given the complexity of U.S. immigration law, it is important to understand which federal agencies handle which types of immigration matters. Contact Hanlon Law Group, P.C. in Pasadena, CA, to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney.
U.S. Department of State
The Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign-affairs agency, primarily charged with developing and implementing foreign policy. However, it is also involved in some immigration affairs — primarily, issuing visas. The State Department oversees U.S. consulates and embassies abroad that are responsible for processing, and approving or denying visa applications.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The DHS is the umbrella organization created in 2002 to coordinate the country's efforts to combat terrorism. Most of the agencies handling immigration-related matters are now part of the DHS. One of the most important changes with the creation of the DHS was the founding of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agencies.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The USCIS is a branch of DHS and the primary agency dealing with immigration matters. The USCIS took on the immigration responsibilities of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in 2003.
In general, the USCIS is in charge of all immigration-related applications and authorizations for foreign individuals seeking to lawfully enter the country, as well as for those who are already inside the borders of the United States seeking to lawfully stay or change their legal status. It has the power to authorize or deny admission to the United States, working with U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
The USCIS deals with:
- Family-based petitions
- Employment-based petitions
- Asylum and refugee processing
- International adoptions
- Naturalization process for citizenship
- Approving changes in immigrant status
- Approving extensions for nonimmigrant visas
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Like the USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was established in 2003 as a branch of DHS. CBP has the combined missions of several previous agencies with broad responsibility for border protection, not only as it concerns the flow of traveling people, but also for the safe importation of goods. In carrying out is mission, CBP is charged with preventing terrorist and criminal activity on the U.S. borders. One of the CBP's most important initiatives is identifying and refusing entry to people or cargo that may pose risk to U.S. citizens.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Under DHS, the law-enforcement functions of the former U.S. Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Federal Protective Service and the Federal Air Marshals Service were merged into ICE. Now ICE is the primary law enforcement, investigative and intelligence agency responsible for identifying and eliminating vulnerabilities in the nation's border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security. ICE also has authority over illegal immigrant detention and removal.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
The Department of Labor promotes the welfare of workers by improving working conditions and advancing employment opportunities. Employers seeking to hire certain classes of permanent employees and temporary workers who are foreign nationals must file for labor certification from the DOL prior to hiring them. Without the appropriate labor certification, foreign workers will be unable to secure visas and enter the U.S. to work legally.
Speak to an immigration lawyer
Understanding the interplay of the various relevant government organizations is important to a full understanding of U.S. immigration policy. Contact Hanlon Law Group, P.C. in Pasadena, CA, to speak with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer about your immigration-related legal matters.
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