miami immigration laws

Miami Immigration Laws

Miami immigration laws differ from federal regulations when it comes to enforcement. Miami was a sanctuary city. This means that they did not enforce some federal immigration regulations. Also, Miami did not inquire about citizens that may be in the U.S. illegally. Lastly, Miami at one time refused to hold illegal immigrants or transfer them to federal agencies.

Pressure from the Tump administration means that Miami has to start enforcing all of the federal immigration regulations. Also, if Miami makes the decision to continue serving as a sanctuary city, it could me cuts to federal budget funding.

Miami Immigration Laws: The Basics


Miami abides by the federal rules on employment. Local business must verify every prospective employee’s immigration status. All businesses must have employees fill out an I-9 form. This form which the federal government provides verifies the employment eligibility of the individual.

Florida also now requires the use of the federal E-Verify system, unlike many other states. This system verifies a person’s eligibility to work in the U.S. online. An executive order issued in January of 2017 now requires all employers to use the E-Verify system.

Driver’s License

The State of Florida requires every individual to prove their citizenship to receive a driver’s license. Documents that prove your citizenship include a social security card, a U.S. passport, your birth certificate, immigration documents, or a foreign passport with accompanying USCIS documentation. The state also requires you to provide proof of your address with two documents such as utility bills, bank statements, or the title for your car.

Law Enforcement

There have been some changes to the enforcement of Miami immigration laws. In January, jails in Miami-Dade County received instructions to start complying fully with federal laws regarding immigration. This means using the federal “Secure Communities” program. This programs requires jails to fingerprint detainees and run their fingerprints through a database which checks their immigration status and criminal background.

Also, Miami-Dade jails now transfer detainees to federal agencies when they suspect that they are here illegally.

Miami Immigration Laws: The Basics

Federal laws prohibit illegal immigrants in Miami from receiving certain public health benefits. Programs like social security, disability, and welfare programs are all off limits for people with a questionable immigration status. However, there are some benefits that these individuals are eligible to receive. These emergency services include healthcare and other benefits that the government deems “necessary to protect life and safety.”

Miami Immigration Laws: The Process

The Miami immigration laws are the same as the rest of the country. The path to legal residency differs depending on your specific situation. For example, the process is very different for someone that has political asylum as it is for someone to comes here on a work visa. Here is a general outline of the immigration process:

  1. To come to the U.S. legally, you must first apply and receive approval for a visa. There are different types of visas for students, employees, and asylum seekers.
  2. Secondly, you must live in the U.S. for a specific amount of time to qualify for permanent resident status. This length of time varies depending on the visa. For example, someone that comes to the U.S. on an asylum visa is only required to be here for a year before starting the green card process. However, the government requires someone here on a work visa to live in the U.S. for up to five years before applying.
  3. Once these requirements are met, you must fill out the correct forms. Depending on your situation the forms vary. Also, applicants must not have any criminal convictions or pending cases. Issues with criminal charges can disqualify an individual from applying for a green card.
  4. After you have done your part, you have to wait. The immigration system in the U.S. is slow. It can take up to two years to process your application. There will be extensive interviews and background checks. Also, you will have to learn about the history of the U.S.
  5. Once your application receives approval, you will swear an oath to the United States in a ceremony.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

While the outline above may seem simple and straightforward, the immigration process is anything but easy. A Miami immigration attorney can help you understand the Miami immigration laws. An attorney can help you to prepare for the process. Also, an immigration attorney can help you determine the proper forms to fill out and speed up the procedure. Contact Pozo Goldstein today to see how they can help.

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