I'm British and live in Colorado Springs, and am just starting the nursing course at Pikes Peak Community College. We have been in the USA for just over 4 years now. Originally my husband came in on an L1 visa, and the kids and I were on L2 visas. The whole green-card process was a nightmare (at least they don't check you for lice anymore, although it feels like it
). Even though we were provided with an immigration attorney up in Illinois, by my husbands company, it took almost 3 years for our green cards to come through. However, I could legally work before that, as I was issued with a work permit, but I'm not sure how you go about getting one....consulting an attorney is a good idea, but immigration is an expensive business if you're going to get the attorney to do everything for you (the company paid for us, so it wasn't a problem).
Sorry I couldn't help more (but I do know where to get Branston Pickle LOL!),
Best wishes, Paint.