When considering a career in the law, there are many options available. Attorneys practice is a wide array of sectors along the spectrum. Focusing on a specific practice area is one way to begin building a successful law career.
One area of the law where attorneys can focus in the United States is immigration law. Immigration law is defined as dealing “with issues relating to foreign nationals who come to this country either temporarily or permanently, including the associated legal rights, duties and obligations of aliens in the United States.”
Immigration lawyers or immigration law attorneys spend much of their time dealing with the application processes and procedures involved with foreign nationals coming into the United States, including the process of naturalization for those who wish to become U.S. citizens. Immigration law attorneys might also deal with the legal issues faced by those people in the United States under asylum or as refugees.
A large portion of immigration law in the news right now has to do with those who have passed into the United States illegally, and those who traffic or otherwise transport illegal aliens into the United States.
Foreign Nationals vs. Citizens
Since immigration lawyers deal with foreign nationals, it is important to know the definition of a foreign national. A citizen, in the United States, is someone born in the United States or born overseas to a citizen parent, or someone who has come from another country and gone through the naturalization process. Anyone who is not a U.S. Citizen is considered to be a foreign national or alien. Aliens can be:
- Documented (legal)
- Undocumented (illegal)
Immigration lawyers can focus in any number of areas. An immigration law attorney helps foreign nationals:
- Obtain U.S. Visas (work or nonwork)
- Obtain Green Cards
- With the Naturalization Process
- Immigrate to the United States for education
- Gain Asylum
Another focus of immigration law attorneys is helping couples in the United States with international adoption.
American immigration law is currently a very politically divisive field, but as laws change regarding immigration, immigration attorneys will be in high demand. There is a big future in the field of immigration law—if you’re interested in immigration policy, it can be the perfect practice area for you.