US Certificate of Citizenship, declaration of intention, fingerpirnt card, social security card, application for naturalization and port of arrival manifest with red, white and blue ribbon

Immigration Law Predictions for 2021 and Beyond

The new Biden administration has promised many things, one of them being reform for immigration laws. Immigration has been a rising subject with the government, especially in the last couple of years.


Late last year, Biden promised to tackle issues regarding immigration, in several aspects. The ability to deliver these promises may not come so easily, since the new administration is facing a number of factors.


There might be many roadblocks, but people all over the country are staying on top of these very possible changes. We look at the predictions for this year. 


Reestablishing DACA 


In 2020, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival was placed on a halt, but with a new administration, that halt won’t last for long. The new administration has announced their commitment to giving these children a path to citizenship that way they can work and attend school in the United States without fear that this could be revoked. This will have to go under legislative action to enforce reforms. This reform could also help provide migrants with more financial stability if it does go through. 


Making the Citizenship Test Easier 


Most people who apply for citizenship fear the test. They think it’ll be too difficult for them to pass or to apply for immigration into the U.S. Immigrant visa approvals averaged at 17% between 2016 and 2019. It goes to show that they weren’t as easily accessible. People were denied visas more than they were granted them. The new administration has pledged to work on this, to change the way green cards and visas work. Similar to DACA, this would require congressional approval, which can take plenty of time. 


Defunding the Wall 


The wall that the Trump administration funded may no longer be getting the money it was once receiving. In fact, the new administration wants to do away with the wall. This could end up saving the United States approximately $2.6 billion. Although, this could end up charging fees in terms of demolition, approximating to $700 million, so either way, some kind of money is going to have to be spent towards these efforts. 


Reinvesting in Refugee Programs 


Refugees and asylum seekers were barred from coming into the country for a while, mainly when the COVID-19 pandemic started to jump from one country to another. The new administration aims to find a way to help refugees and asylum seekers come in while also being able to follow safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. There are thousands of cases waiting to be heard, mainly from Mexico, which the new administration says that they will be working on shortly. 


No Longer Separating Children and Parents at the Border 


In previous years, several sources and large heaps of money were going into ICE facilities. With the new administration, this isn’t totally the case. The new administration has spoken about creating a task force for several efforts, one of them being, reuniting children with their parents. The zero-tolerance policy that was responsible for separating families could possibly be revoked sometime this year. No matter how long it takes, we can expect to see this soon. 


An End to Visa Suspensions 


In June of last year, non-immigrant visas were suspended, meaning specific immigrants were not permitted to cross United States borders. Visa processing should start operating as it was before this June sometime in 2021. The suspension applied to those under H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and J-I visas, including dependents. 


Speeding Up Processing Times 


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is infamous for taking up plenty of time when it comes to processing applications and providing them with entry if they do end up being permitted. In fact, the system in the United States, compared to other countries, is rather slow. For the new year, there is talk that processing times will be sped up to help all visa applicants. Since 2020 was a slow year for immigration, people are expecting major changes in 2021. 


Choose Fong Ilagan to Support You Through the Process 


If you’ve been thinking about applying for permanent residency or want to become a U.S. citizen, there is no better place than Fong Ilagan to get started. Full of reliable and hard-working attorneys, we can get you where you need to be. Contact us today to learn more about how we can initiate the process. 


Family of immigrants come to the united states

10 Interesting Facts About Immigration 

Immigration has shaped the United States and other countries in many ways. It’s safe to say that the more immigration we witness and experience, the more it impacts our way of life. We have reached a point where our economy, society, and the government are more diverse than it has ever been! And, of course, that’s something to be proud of. Although, some people aren’t aware of the basics when it comes to immigration, and that’s completely okay. We’re here to help with that. The experts at Fong Ilagan know everything there is when it comes to immigration. We want to share our knowledge with you. 


¾ of the U.S. Population: Naturalized Citizens and Authorized Residents Combined

Almost a decade ago, half of the U.S. population was made up of immigrants, despite their status. Now, in 2020, we can say the same, except the percentage has gone up by 25%. The vast majority of immigrants that make up that percentage have been living in the United States as either naturalized citizens or authorized housing residents for ten years or more. 


80% of Immigrants Come from Asia or Latin America 

More than a century ago, the vast majority of immigrants were coming from European countries. Now, most immigrants come from countries from Latin America or Asia, including India, China, Cuba, El Salvador, and Mexico. We still see plenty of European immigrants, but they do not compare to the numbers Latin American and Asian immigrants are bringing in. 


The Economy Grows at an Increasing Rate 

Researchers and analysts have found that immigration raises total economic output, thanks to the increasing number of workers who come to the United States as immigrants. More specifically, foreign-born workers contribute about two trillion dollars every year. That can also be estimated at 10% of annual GDP. 


High-skilled Immigrations Encourages Innovation 

Immigrants tend to work in fields that require advanced education, including STEM, which encourages research, professional work, school work and studies, and anything of the sort in all fields. This is due to the fact that immigrants bring ideas that may be different from native-born innovators, which in turn inspires more work and creativity. 


Additionally, They Push For More Job Availability 

Because more immigrants are coming in, this means that there is a large dependency on businesses that are essential for everyday life. Thus, employers must bring in more jobs when there is more customer traffic. Additionally, immigrants account for high numbers in taxes, which also supports tax-based jobs such as education. 


U.S. Immigration Does Not Account for Crime Rates 

Immigration is not a factor when it comes to analyzing rates of crime in the United States. In fact, it has been found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be incarcerated than native-born individuals. Also, crime rates are lowest in states that have higher numbers of immigrants. 


Immigrants Often Start Their Own Businesses 

In addition to encouraging job availability in the United States, immigrants often tend to start their businesses instead of looking for a job once they get here. Immigrants are twice as likely to create their own businesses than citizens born in the United States. 


More Immigrant Men Come to the U.S. Compared to Immigrant Women 


More immigrant men tend to come to the United States due to financial support and finding a job. Often, if these men have families, it will take a couple of years before they decide to sponsor their families. The families, most of the time, grow in their native country and then settle in the U.S.


Immigrants Are More Likely to Receive a Doctorate Than Natives 

As we mentioned earlier, immigrants are more inclined to complete advanced education as opposed to U.S. natives. With that being said, we see more and more immigrants receiving their doctorate, making them twice more likely compared to U.S. natives. 


Children of Immigrants Will Most Likely Work In the Same Occupations as Children of Natives

Although many immigrants establish their own businesses, their children are less likely to follow their paths. Children of immigrants are more inclined to take on jobs or employment that we usually find with children of natives of the United States, which, in turn, decreases their chances of working in the field of STEM. 


Contact Fong Ilagan to Learn More 

Fong Ilagan is always here to answer any questions you may have. Even more, we want to help everyone with their goals in terms of citizenship and lawful status. Contact us today to learn about how we can assist you. 

Fong Ilagan, LLP Recognized by Super Lawyers and U.S. News – Best Lawyers 2020

Fong Ilagan, LLP is excited to announce that William D. Fong and Gary J. Ilagan have both been recognized on the 2020 Texas Super Lawyers list by Thomson Reuters. This is the 15th year in a row for Mr. Fong and the 9th for Mr. Ilagan. 

  • Mr. Fong has been regularly listed as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters consecutively from 2006-2020. 
  • Mr. Ilagan is likewise a top-rated attorney who has been regularly selected to Super Lawyers from 2012-2020.

Fong Ilagan, LLP has also received recognition for “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Immigration Law for 2021 from U.S. News – Best Lawyers. Click here to read more.

Only five percent of Texas lawyers receive the distinction of being included in the yearly Super Lawyers list. As such, it’s an incredible honor and privilege. As 2020 comes to an end, we look forward to further assisting our community by providing honest, caring, and reputable legal assistance for all aspects of corporate and family immigration. 

How to Adapt to Life in the U.S.

Friends Gathered On Rooftop Terrace For Party With City Skyline In BackgroundImmigrating to the U.S. is a battle alone. It can be even harder to establish a life in a country you’re unfamiliar with. The United States, considered the land of opportunity and freedom, is a melting pot, where people of all backgrounds can make their aspirations come true. Immigrants will naturally create a strong connection to the country of their origin while living in the United States. While that is completely understandable, it is important for immigrants to maintain a balance with their home country and with their new home in order to lead a successful life. The professionals here at Fong Ilagan understand the difficulty accompanied by traveling to a new country. Thankfully, we know a thing or two about being accustomed to the U.S. economy and society. 


Create a Timeline and Stay Organized 


The first and most important thing you should do (even before settling in the U.S) is to create a timeline. In this timeline, you should include when and how you’ll be settling, job opportunities to keep an eye out for, and support groups you can meet with. By creating a timeline, you can adjust your schedule accordingly to check off all of your important tasks. Even better, a timeline helps you know what you have to have done months from the time you create a plan. This can help you feel more in control once you have traveled into the U.S.


Have an Open Mind 


It can be easy to assume the worst and give up right then and there, but if you were able to make it into the U.S., there is nothing you can’t tackle! The change in culture can be drastic and overwhelming, but the negativity shouldn’t start there. Moving into a new country is the perfect time to leave bad habits behind and start looking into the future. This change can bring you more fortune and opportunity, more than you might have ever imagined. Maintaining a positive and welcoming outlook is essential throughout the process. 


Establish a Strong Work Ethic


Employers will hire candidates that radiate dedication, skillful, and most importantly, those who prioritize their work. A major American value surrounds those who commit to their work. You have to show your potential employers how much of a hard worker you are. No one can have anything for free, especially when it comes to the job market. With that being said, don’t be afraid to speak highly of yourself, showing your potential employers how well you’ll fit within their work environment and their professional team. 


Network as Much as Possible


Most jobs are handed to people through mutual friends, coworkers, business partners, anything of that sort. Where exactly can you meet these people? There are plenty of programs online and there might even be job fairs held within your community. It is crucial that you stay active within these environments in order to land interviews back to back, and most importantly, a job that can support you. Networking is the best and most effective way when it comes to finding job openings, being referred for positions, and securing job interviews. 


Promote Your Skills


Once you created a professional profile or have landed a job interview, this is where you have to highlight your skills. If you’re a bilingual speaker, make this evident as you are going through your skills. Some jobs tend to pay more if they can find a bilingual candidate for the job position. You have to let potential employers know about what you can do, especially the skills that are hard to find in employee candidates. If you can really dive into the facts and logically prove why you’re a good fit, it’s likely that you’ll be able to land a professional opportunity. 


Inquire About Services that Can Help


Maybe you haven’t found a job fast enough or maybe you’re still having a hard time finding a home you can settle in for a good while. Immigration services are vast. These services not only aim to help people travel into the U.S. but they are also intended on helping these individuals establish a successful life. Immigration services can be found almost anywhere in the U.S. Do your research, go online, and make several calls to receive some additional support. It is guaranteed that you’ll find a program that offers the support you’re looking for. 


Contact Our Immigration Law Firm 


The professionals at Fong Ilagan have been able to assist immigrants throughout the arduous process of traveling into the U.S. We want to provide as much help as possible for the sake of your journey. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. 


How Immigration Trends are Changing in the United States 

Group of students near wall with USA flagThe state of immigration is everchanging, especially here in the United States. Ever since its commence, no one has been able to perfectly predict how rates may decrease or increase. These trends usually depend on a number of factors, including the time of year, what events are occurring on an international level, and the current president’s policies regarding immigration. Almost every day, new reports are being sent out to cover which foreigners are coming into the country and the numbers by which they are coming in. More than halfway into 2020, there is much to be said about these immigration trends. We discuss them. 


More Latin Americans, Fewer European and Asians 


In the year 2018, the United States witnessed the least amount of green cards issued to people from Europe and Asia. The numbers had not been so low since 2010.  The numbers have risen for Latin Americans, based on specific countries and regions. The Caribbean contributed a 30% increase, Central Americans contributed a 34% increase, Venezuelans are a reported 17%, and Mexico is approximately 16% up, all from 2010. 


Different Gateways for Immigrants to Come In 


New York and California have always been the hotspots where a vast majority of immigrants come into the United States. The same goes for other states such as Florida, Illinois, and Texas. In recent years, immigrants have found other hubs to enter into the United States, such as regions in the Southeast and the Pacific Northwest. This may be due to where exactly the majority of these foreigners are coming from. 


Population Growth in the South and West


Immigration is one of the key factors in the boom of the population in areas such as the Sun Belt (Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, two-thirds of California, and parts of North Carolina, Nevada, and Utah), the Pacific Northwest, and the Mountain States. With more immigrants coming in and residing in these parts of the United States, the overall growth has been driven mostly in the Southern and Western regions. 


Population Declines in Central America


As more foreigners are coming into the United States and establishing family life here, fewer families have been populating in Central American countries. Native-born populations are declining in certain areas of these countries due to the fact that most families and individuals do not return to their homelands, much less do they raise families in their home countries. 


Traveling in Families


Out of 1.1 million people who became green card holders in 2018, 63% of this number obtained permanent resident status due to family connections to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder they are related to. With this in mind, foreigners are less likely to travel into the United States if they do not already have family there or if they are not traveling with a family. 


Longer Wait Times for Permanent Residency Applicants 


Wait times are already a soaring burden for those who apply for permanent residency. Due to the fact that so many people are applying, the wait times have been extended. Only a small percentage of applicants were able to obtain permanent residency the same year they applied, in the past two years. As of recent, applicants are informed that the process could take up to (at a maximum) of two years for their application to be filed. 


Gaining Citizenship Has Become More Rigorous 


Similar to obtaining permanent residency, gaining citizenship is also taking up more time and the process has become much more difficult. This difficulty is due to more requirements and officials have made exams to be much more strict. Immigrants are expected to live in the United States for a certain amount of time (an increase from 2011 policies) before they can be naturalized. 


Immigrants Make a Grand Economic Contribution


The many immigrants that do become naturalized or obtain their green cards become employed. In fact, 70% of new green card holders in 2018 had jobs and only 1 out of 8 people were unemployed, with most of them being retired or working as home or caretakers. Many of these foreigners who are working in the U.S. provide a vital economic counterbalance to the portion of the U.S. population that is growing older and unable to work. 


Get Connected with Dedicated Professionals 


The experts at Fong Ilagan closely examine trends and changes in policies in order to better help our clients in the process of moving into the U.S. Whenever you may need us, we are here to answer all of your questions. Contact us today to get started. 


Common Issues Immigrants Face In Detention Centers

Lock on a wire security fence in fron of an industrial style building

Caryl Stern, president of the USCIS, once said, “Detention for any length of time, with or without families, is bad for children.” If the conditions are detrimental for children, it’s without a doubt that it affects adults, just the same. Immigration lawyers not only work to keep immigrant families from being held in detention centers but they also work in efforts to remove them if they have been ordered to reside in a center, temporarily. But what exactly makes these centers a chaotic experience for most? We take an inside look at some of the conditions that migrants typically have to tolerate in detention centers all across the country. 

Limited Resources 


Families, all too often, have complained about not having enough soap to bathe themselves with, inaccessible places to go to the restroom, even inadequate amounts of toothpaste. What makes matters worse is that most detainees are forced to undergo and work with limited resources for months on end. Furthermore, most of these centers fail to provide materials for first-time parents such as diapers, formula, and much more. It doesn’t help that parents usually can’t wash their own materials due to the lack of water and cleaning solutions as well.  


Unsanitary Conditions 


What makes these centers often an unhealthy environment to reside is the lack of cleaning supplies. Since soap is scarce, there is not much cleaning that can be done. Detainees are also limited to the amount of water they can use. Due to these minimal efforts, many detainees have complained about how dirty the centers can be and how fast residue builds. Although cleaning staff are usually assigned to clean these centers, it can be hard to keep up with so many families being held. 


Lack of Medical Care and Staff 


In these conditions, detainees are much more susceptible to becoming sick or injured. Detention centers are ordered to contact medical experts and assistants when it is necessary. Although, some of these doctors are usually far out of reach and may come at a time when it is already too late. By not having immediate care, death rates have gone up in these facilities. For more fatality rates, more lawsuits are being held against these centers, all of which obtain numbers that they can’t pay. 


High Infection Rates 


Where there are unsanitary living conditions, there are high infection rates. Temperatures are usually extremely cold with lights on twenty fours hours a day, as doctors and pediatricians have witnessed. Some of the most common infections that spread within these facilities include flu, lice, chickenpox, and scabies. These infections usually start out with symptoms such as fever, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. The children in these detention centers are more prone to catching these infections as opposed to the adults, nonetheless, the rates are high. 


Invasion of Privacy


Families in detention centers usually request space to themselves, but this is not offered nor given. Most of these migrants are undergoing harsh times, therefore it can be hard to cope with what they dealing with when they are forced to share rooms and facilities with other migrants. Even worse, when migrants are patted down to be checked for prohibited items, some have reported being groped and inappropriately touched. Lack of respect is especially prevalent in these detrimental situations. 


Tight Space


Most detention facilities barely have enough beds. Some reports have emerged in the news regarding children who have had to sleep on concrete floors or tough slabs. Some of the adults have had to sacrifice laying down at all, having to stand up for days due to inefficient space. Furthermore, reports have come up stating that detention centers usually attempt to cram 900 people into a space that is designed to accommodate 125 at most. It’s evident that there isn’t much comfort, much less room, for these migrants to adapt to. 


Who Exactly Is Being Held In These Detention Centers? 


The vast majority of migrants that are ordered to stay in these detention centers are seeking to flee from violence in Northern Triangle countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Currently, more than 50,000 people are currently being held and detained in ICE facilities, in which half a fifth of this number is comprised of children. 


Fight the Battles of Immigration with the Experts at Fong Ilagan 

Here at Fong Ilagan, we believe it is our duty to serve justice where it is deemed necessary. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you in your case and help you manifest a smooth transition into the U.S.

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