By , June 14, 2016

Understand Naturalization

If you were were not born an American citizen, the process of becoming an American citizen is called “naturalization.” Although there are a number of exceptions to the following general rules, and there are underlying requirements for each of the rules, you may not be natural­ized unless you:

  1. Are at least 18 years old and a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder);
  2. Have resided continuously in the United States, having been lawfully admitted for per­manent residence, for five years immediately preceding the date you filed your application for naturalization, or
  3. After having been removed from condi­tional permanent resident status, based upon your marriage to a U.S. citizen, resided in the United States for one year after the date the condition was removed;
  4. Have resided continuously in the United States at all times after your application to the time and date of your admission for citizenship;
  5. Have, during all periods of time referred to above, been and still are a person of good moral character;
  6. Have no outstanding deportation or removal order and no pending deportation or removal proceeding;
  7. Have the ability to read, write, speak, and understand simple words and phrases in English;
  8. Have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. history and govern­ment;
  9. Can support, the prin­ciples of the U.S. Constitution and can swear allegiance to the United States.

Complete Paperwork Carefully when Employing Immigrants

As most employers are aware, whenever an employee is hired, a document called an I-9 is required to be complet­ed by both the employee and the employer.

This document is one page with one section for the employer and the other section for the employee. This innocent paper can become very dangerous for both the employee and the employer if the information and/or documentation supporting the information is not ac­curate.

When illegal aliens are not honest about completing the form, a deportation action may result. As defending in deportation matters is complicated, the best thing to do is to immediately call an immigration attorney.

In regard to the employer, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The U.S. government takes this seriously enough to publish an entire handbook for the instruction for completing the I-9 as well as the documentation that is necessary to support any information provided by the employee.

Remember, it is the employer’s duty to acquire docu­mentation that supports the contention that the employee is indeed in the United States legally.

There are a number of way in which a person may be legally within the United States without having a Green Card or being a legal permanent resident. There are a number of Visas and work permits that allow a foreign national to be in the United States legally and to work within the appropriate statutes.

Whatever the designation of the immigrant who is legally in the United States, if the employer does not acquire and retain certain documentation, or ignores the documentation altogether, there are both civil and criminal sanctions. This can mean large fines, having one’s business closed for an undetermined amount of time, and possibly even jail time.

Therefore, if you are an employer and you employ any number of people who may not be citizens of the United States, we certainly recommend that at a minimum, you review the employer handbook in regard to I-9s.

Better yet, we urge you to seek counsel to either advise you as to the adequacy of your record keeping or alternatively, to audit your past I-9s to determine whether they are sufficient to avoid civil and /or criminal penalties.

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