2006 Immigration Trend 1/4

Posted on September 12, 2006 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

As Law Enforcement Is Tougher in Georgia Illegal Aliens Should Try Their Best to Adjust Status

In the last few years, with a rapid growth of economy in Georgia, especially in Atlanta, many immigrants have moved to Georgia and a lot of them are illegal immigrants. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on August 18, 2006, around 50,000 illegal immigrants moved to Georgia annually between 2000 and 2005. The reported growth rate of illegal immigrants in Georgia is 114%, which is number one in the U.S. On the other hand, the handling of the immigrant issues by the Georgia government is very conservative.  The State of Georgia takes a very strong position against illegal immigrants.

For example, earlier this year Sonny Purdue, the governor of Georgia signed the Bill 529 which would come into effect in July 2007. The bill is thought to be one of the toughest laws against illegal immigrants in the U.S.  It would put more responsibilities on employers in checking the identity of their employees and would punish those employers who hire illegal aliens intentionally.  It would require the contracted companies with the state government to check the identity of their employees as well.

Additionally, although Georgia has less than 3% of population in the U.S., the percentage of enforcement officers of the U.S. department of Homeland Security stationed in Georgia is pretty high.  In the effort to expedite the removal of illegal aliens in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has already classified the City of Atlanta as a key city and has set up special teams in Atlanta to investigate and arrest illegal aliens.  In August 2006, the Department of Homeland Security added two more special teams in Atlanta and North Carolina to search and arrest illegal immigrants.

For those illegal aliens who are looking at the federal government and president Bush for a hope of relief, this year may turn out to be a very disappointing year.  Although the Senate has already passed a bill to give illegal aliens and guest workers some relief and President Bush is very eager to sign it, due to the pressure created in the November election, the House controlled by Republicans has decided to appear tough.  Up to this point, it is very unlikely that any bills could pass both the House and the Senates and get them signed into laws by the President although there is still some time left for the negotiation.  Therefore, those aliens whose legal status has already expired should not just wait for a new relief from the federal government.  Instead, they should review their own situations and try to find legal ways to apply for lawful permanent resident status within the current immigration systems.

For qualified Koreans who have no legal status, current immigration law allows them to legally change their status in two ways: (1) through truthful marriage with a U.S. citizen; and (2) through Section 245(i).  For aliens who have entered into the U.S. legally but whose legal status expired later, they could apply for green card right now if they have got married with the U.S. citizen even though their legal status has already expired.  For illegal aliens who are grandfathered under Section 245(i) of the INA, that is to say, they have properly filed a family-based or employment-based immigrant visa or Labor Certification before Apr. 30, 2001 and they were physically present in the U.S. on or before Dec. 21, 2000, they may still have a chance to change their status to that of lawful permanent status legally under the current legal system.

In closing, in the face of the strong position which the State of Georgia takes on illegal immigrants and the increasing effort by the federal government in enforcing the immigration law, it would be very important for qualified illegal aliens to get to know the ways to adjust their status under the current system, instead of hopelessly waiting for a new law to pass.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.