Each year, immigrants come to the United States to visit, to study, and to work. Foreign travelers and students are often welcomed by host countries and their citizens, and they spend money to get there and to remain. Often, tens of thousands of dollars are spent if they are pursuing advanced degrees.
Even undocumented aliens, who may avoid paying their fair share of taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), still contribute to American society by working and spending money. Some contend that undocumented workers are a drain on society, though it is these immigrants, with little support and knowledge of U.S. law, who are often the ones being taken advantage of. The plight in many of these immigrant stories is captured in the recent film about the life of Latino human rights leader, Cesar Chavez.
Thanks in part to activists like Chavez, immigrants living in the United States often have similar rights as U.S. born citizens, regardless of their visa status or alien classification. These rights do carry with them duties to the United States’ government as well, however. Though there are far too many to list in a brief posting, it is helpful for immigrants in this country to understand a number of their basic legal rights and duties.
While legal immigrants are allowed to stay living in the United States without getting full citizenship, they must comply with two general rules. First, they must maintain legal status or have their visas renewed before they expire. Second, they must give temporary allegiance to the U.S. government as long as they reside within its states.
Allegiance means that immigrants must:
pay state and federal taxes;
join the draft lottery system in wartime;
consent to the legal jurisdiction of U.S. courts if they are accused of any violation of commercial laws; and
submit to the subpoena power of the courts.
Because immigrants must obey laws and may be forced to defend lawsuits and cooperate in investigations, they are also afforded a number of the same rights as U.S. citizens.
Under the color of United States law, immigrants:
may work in any U.S. state (they may not be discriminated against because they are not local citizens – an employer who tells you they cannot hire you because you are not a U.S. citizen may be breaking the law);
must be paid minimum wage or higher (it is illegal for employers to pay less than minimum wage); and
must be not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures by police.
Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney
If you have questions regarding immigrant rights and responsibilities in the Unites States or in Illinois in particular, contact the immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. We can help you in any matter involving immigration law.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.
Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.
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