Introduction to US Immigration Law

Immigration Law refers to the Federal Statutes, regulations, and legal precedents governing immigration to
and from the United States.

Structure of US Immigration Law:

The Federal Government has authority over immigration into the United States due to national sovereignty. The three branches of the Federal Government each play a unique role in the implementation and enforcement of immigration law:

The Legislative Branch

The United States Congress, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives, creates immigration laws by drafting and passing legislation.

The laws enacted by Congress are called Federal Statutes. The Statutes are published under the Immigration and Nationality Act, found in Title 8 of the United States Code.

The Executive Branch

The Executive Branch enforces immigration laws through its agencies and administrative decisions. Executive agencies create federal regulations, which provide specificity to the Federal Statutes.

The major Executive Agencies that impact Immigration Law are the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor.

The Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch reviews immigration-related decisions of government agencies and administrative decisions.

Immigration-related decisions can be appealed to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and ultimately to the Supreme Court.

Types of Visas:

Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, study, or other similar reasons. For more information on the nonimmigrant visa services offered by MLG, click here.

Visitor and Student visas are a type of nonimmigrant visa for foreign nationals who wish to participate in any of the following: business activities of a commercial or professional nature; academic and vocational studies; participation in an approved exchange program; visiting schools before or during the application process and/or participating in short recreational, non-credit courses; or other temporary purposes. For more information on the visitor and student visa services offered by MLG, click here.

Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who intend to live and work permanently in the United States. For more information on the immigrant visa services offered by MLG, click here.

Family-based visas are for foreign nationals who have a close relationship with a US Citizen or permanent resident. For more information on the family-based visa services offered by MLG, click here.

The EB-5 visa is for foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. For more information on the EB-5 visa services offered by MLG, click here.

“Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”

Oscar Handlin