If you or your relatives hope to live and work in the United States, you should be aware of US immigration laws pertaining to acquiring legal immigration status and employment. Immigration policies at the state level vary considerably in terms of access to public benefits and verification of legal status of immigrants. Some states have become tougher regulating immigration due to economic and security reasons. The constitutionality of some state immigration policies have been contested by federal courts.
Like most other states, Massachusetts has stepped up its efforts to guard its territory against undocumented immigrants, particularly by enforcing strict verification of employment eligibility and checking the immigration status of arrestees.
Employers in Massachusetts are required to have each new employee complete IRS Form I-9 within three days of their start date. The new employee has to give basic information such as his/her name, address, social security number, and proper documentation to prove his/her right to work in the US. I-9 forms now can be verified and stored online. Employers can even use the online E-Verify system to verify an employee’s eligibility. This system immediately sends feedback as to whether the new hire is authorized to work and will also provide information as to his/her actual status. If there is a negative response from the system, the employer must then inform the hire to report directly to the Department of Homeland Security to clear up the matter. Failure by the new hire to establish his identity and authorization to work will likely result in the termination of their employment.
Our Immigration Division at Shapiro Law Group, PC can help you with your employment verification problems. We can assist you as an employer in verification of an employee’s valid immigration status and eligibility to work. More critically, we can also review your existing records to be sure there are no existing violations, which can be tremendously costly if your company’s records are ever audited. In addition, we can also assist employees in correcting Immigration’s records if they feel that Immigration has mistakenly provided a negative system response.
Getting a Driver’s License
A foreign national applying for a driver’s license in Massachusetts must show proof of legal immigration status, their date of birth, and that they are living in Massachusetts. He or she must also present a social security card or evidence that they are not eligible for a social security number.
You may have faced difficulties at the RMV due to an officer’s confusion about your immigration status or your eligibility for a social security number. Our Immigration Division at Shapiro Law Group, PC can assist you when faced with such difficulties.
Except in emergency cases deemed necessary to protect life, only documented foreign nationals can receive public benefits in Massachusetts such as healthcare and food stamps. Depending on your immigration status, you may be eligible for additional assistance, like cash assistance, housing assistance, and other public benefits. If you are unsure for what benefits you may be eligible, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney at Shapiro Law Group, PC.
Benefits of Legal Immigration Status in Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes benefits gained from the growth of its immigrant populations, especially in the workforce and local society. It is one of a handful of states that have pioneered certain benefits to their documented immigrants in order to facilitate their road to integration and eventual US citizenship. Students are allowed to pay the in-state tuition fee rates if they have resided in the state for three years and graduated from one of the state’s high schools. Students granted DACA status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) also qualify for in-state tuition in Massachusetts. The state is working hard to reduce the waiting time for immigrants to obtain English classes, a prerequisite to citizenship. It has also tried to find ways to enable medical and other professional immigrants to transfer their licenses from their home countries into Massachusetts. The state continues to fund citizen programs and healthcare benefits to documented foreign nationals.
If you are an immigrant living in the state of Massachusetts, or are a US citizen or legal permanent resident who wants to legalize your spouse or relative, contact our Immigration Division at Shapiro Law Group, PC.
By Anna Shapiro Esq.