News : Arizona Immigration law – H1B and F1 Visa holders – What to do?

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : Leave a Comment

There has been so much talk about Arizona immigration law (SB1070 ) all over the nation and in all the news channels, news websites, blogs everywhere. There is so much information and it is very confusing for a layman and especially international like who is on H1B or F1 visa. I will share summary of the Arizona immigration law with reference links and the facts and give some things that you can do as a H1B or F1 visa holder to be safe.

Summary of Arizona Immigration law :

Precisely, the new Arizona immigration law allows or gives right to state Police, who enforce law and order, to check the immigration status of any individual, especially immigrants or non-immigrants. As of today, immigration status of any individual or any immigration related information of individual was only accessible to CBP officials or federal government agents of ICE.  The biggest contention with the law is that, it allows racial profiling (meaning showing bias on people from certain race ) of individuals and check the immigration status. In reality, there are lot of illegal immigrants in the state of Arizona and they have been there for years. Now all of a sudden a law like this will make these peoples’ lives much harder. Also, the law states that that employers should not hire anyone without immigration papers (not clear).

Is the Arizona immigration law in effect now ?

Fortunately NO ! There are many law suits filed against this law. The law was supposed to be effect from today, but it was ruled out by the judge and it does not come into effect from today. President Obama administration is also challenging the law that it is a federal related task and state has no authority. Overall, there is so much stuff going on right now and seems like there will not be any result right away. There have been so much protest all over the nation and in Mexico too regarding this law.

How does Arizona Immigration law impact H1B and F1 visa holders ?

Well, if the law comes into effect, we as internationals or immigrants have to carry our immigration papers all the time according to law. I am not sure how it will impact all of us without the papers. I was caught in a situation at CBP where I did not had any papers except my Driving license, but I successfully came out without any trouble as I was in legal status. But was warned then that I should carry papers all the time. As the law is not in effect yet, it may not be of much problem right now. But, here is what you can do. The point is, they are trying to find the illegal immigrants, if you are in legal status, there is nothing you need to worry about!

What can H1B and F1 visa holders do for Arizona Immigration Law ?

  • Try to carry photo copies of your immigration papers with you if you are travelling. You can just have a copy of it in your car.
  • If you are on H1B- Carry a copy of I-797, passport and I-94.
  • If you are a student on F1 visa, carry copy of I20 and I94.
  • Also, if you have state ID or driving license carry that ID.

I am not an attorney, but just piece of advice based on my experience with CBP. This is just something to have with you just if you need in case of emergency. The police, if they suspect they may ask you papers that the new law. But, CBP officers can ask you anytime.  Anyways, You may read the below article for more info.

What are your thoughts ?


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