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Citizenship and green cards: What does the future hold?

On what can be a rocky path to citizenship or a green card, many immigrants in the United States find creative and sometimes illegal ways to gain employment. From a legal perspective, this is not advisable, but the need to provide for one's family while striving for a better future is something most Americans would identify with. People from nations with governments that fail to provide for their citizens often find that immigration to the U.S. is the best possible option for happiness and prosperity.

Reforming U.S. immigration law is set to be one of the top priorities in 2013. The issues involved are complex and numerous, as industries ranging from agriculture to high technology will likely make their lobbies felt. The states and federal government will also bring their specific concerns to the table, and New York immigrants would do well to remain alert to any changes to the law.

Immigrants, too, documented or not, are speaking up to let officials know that changes need to be made.

When it comes to addressing the issue of undocumented immigrants, the U.S. government has taken a multi-pronged approach. President Obama initiated the deferred action program for young immigrants, but meanwhile deportation numbers have risen significantly. Also, Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepped up audits of employers who may have hired undocumented immigrants.

In fact, ICE audited more companies in 2012 than in any year before. During an audit, ICE looks at employer I-9 forms, which indicate whether a worker is authorized to work in the U.S. Employers are required to make sure the documents provided by the worker look real. But if ICE finds out that a Social Security number doesn't match up with the provided name, the employer could be fined.

Immigrants who find themselves caught up in an I-9 dispute may want to consult with an immigration attorney.

To learn more about immigration law and how it relates to citizenship, permanent residency, families and employment, please visit our Staten Island immigration site. Our firm helps people in a variety ways regarding immigration law.

Source: The New York Times, "Immigration Audits on Businesses Rise," Dec. 26, 2012

Source: National Journal, "4 Ways to Increase Immigration, Cultivate Highly Skilled U.S. Workforce," Peter Marber, Dec. 27, 2012

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