Immigration Law is a hot topic. With the recent election of President Donald Trump, there’s a lot of confusion around the subject. We wanted to help clear up a bit of the confusion by sharing how the immigration process works and what you can do to make sure that you follow the law.

Immigration law is ever-changing, making it difficult to provide specific points and details. If you need more specificity than we would suggest speaking with a reputable immigration attorney. It is their job to know everything about immigration law and normally they practice and handle immigration cases exclusively.


There are three federal agencies that oversee creating and enforcing immigration laws – the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The ICE investigates those who break the law and prosecutes offenders. The USCIS handles the applications for legal immigration. And the CBP handles the protection of our borders, which is kind of self-explanatory, judging by the name. These agencies are important to keep balance and security.

How to Obtain Permission to Enter

There are few ways to legally enter the United States. One way is through a green card. This allows foreign nationals to work permanently in the United States. Which is a great option to use if one decides to become a permanent resident. Another way to enter the country is through a Visa. There are a variety of visas that people can apply for. Here is brief list:

  • Professional visas for citizens of Canada and Mexico.
  • Visitor Visas for tourism and business.
  • Visas for students.
  • Immigrant Visas for permanent residency.
  • Transit Visas for people traveling through the U.S. on their way to visit another country.

The process for each of these is a little more detailed than what we can dive into in this post. But suffice it to say that there is a high volume of paper work involved in applying for these.

Prosecution and Deportation

If an immigrant is convicted of a crime in the United States, then the most common fear is deportation. This is not always the case. To be placed in removal proceedings the convicted individual must have committed a crime of moral turpitude (fraud, larceny, or the intent to harm a person or a person’s property) or an aggravated felony. However, a legal immigrant can commit a “petty offense” and still be able to remain in the United States. A petty offense is defined as any crime that could never exceed one year of imprisonment and if any time the person served in prison was less than six months. A good example of this would be shoplifting, simple assault, or a DUI that did not result in the damage to property or harm to people (depending on the state the crime was committed in). An immigrant can still obtain bail whether they are in the proceedings for deportation or not. And if you have any questions on that issue, then please give us a call at (209) 225-9414. Our offices in the Merced, Modesto, and Stockton areas, are more than happy to offer any advice that we can.

As we said at the beginning, this is a very brief overview. Immigration law is extremely complex and you are not going to find all the answers in the post. But we hope that you found some good information and if you have any further questions, please give us a call or fill out web form.