Problem Solved: Understanding Immigration in the US

immigrants celebration of citizenship

According to Pew Research Center, the United States has the most number of immigrants in the entire world. The center states that over 40 million US residents come from different nations; a considerable percentage of US immigrants are from Mexico.

The United Nations defines an international migrant as someone who changes country of residence. Immigration, on the other hand, is the act of moving to a different country other than your own. People in a new country are called immigrants; the country they came from refers to them as emigrants.

Immigrant categories

Immigrants are divided into five different categories. This includes naturalized citizens, permanent residents, refugees, those with twilight statuses, and unauthorized immigrants.

Permanent residents are legally permitted to stay in their new country of residence; it does not mean they are citizens of this country, though. People acquire this status through channels such as employment or family relationships. These residents are commonly known as green-card holders.

On the other hand, naturalized citizens are permanent residents who have stayed in the new country long enough to undergo the process. After getting naturalized in the new country, they get the privilege of being citizens of this country. In the US, those who have been residents after three to five years can apply for citizenship; the country also allows dual citizenship.

Meanwhile, refugees are those who were forced to evacuate their own country. To legally acquire this status, one must prove that they face persecution based on race, political belief, and religion.

Twilight statuses refer to those who have not yet received permanent residence or naturalization; they are still waiting to complete their legal documents. The twilight status means a person is just on the edge of staying legally in their new country of residence.

walk for immigrants

Unauthorized immigrants

From the term itself, we can easily deduce that an unauthorized immigrant has no legal permit to stay in another country. In the US, the term unauthorized immigrant has different variations; this includes illegal immigrants and undocumented immigrants.

Santa Clara University stresses that using these different terms matters; choosing one can show political biases.

Often, conservatives prefer to use the term illegal immigrants. For them, the use of undocumented immigrants minimizes the legal violations these people commit. However, some campaign to drop the use of illegal immigrants; these people argue that “illegal” is a blanket term that has a negative connotation.

The Associated Press seems to agree in dropping the use of the term illegal. Changing its stylebook, the AP style guide suggests using “without legal permission” to refer to this category of immigrants. However, AP still uses “illegal immigration,” only banning the use of the term “illegal” to refer to a person.

This move by AP is vital; most newspapers and publications follow the style guide. This is essential in combating racism; the use of illegal immigrants is said to perpetuate the act.

Immigrants and racism

The United Nations states that immigrants are vulnerable to discrimination and racist sentiments. While immigrants from Europe are welcomed in the country, most people of color from other nations face discrimination. Access to critical societal aspects such as work, housing, education, and health is affected.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information adds that discrimination and racism have negative health implications on migrants. Since access to healthcare is sometimes limited, this may negatively impact an immigrant’s physical health. In addition, anxiety is linked with discrimination and racism, negatively affecting an immigrant’s mental health.

For people to combat this, social support is necessary. To protect the human rights of immigrants, the UN suggests proper global migration governance.


According to USAGov, deportation is the removal of an immigrant who has immigration law violations in a specific country. Deportees may be physically separated from their families and may lose their source of income. If their country of origin is in political turmoil, this immigrant may be subjected to danger.

Therefore, as much as possible, immigrants try to avoid deportation. However, immigration laws are complicated. It has been reported that even some legal immigrants have faced deportation. This is due to a lack of representation.

To help immigrants navigate the complicated laws of immigration, a deportation defense attorney is necessary. Through a lawyer’s expert service, an immigrant gets to have a fair trial.

The Economist reported that in April, the US Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agency (ICE) recorded the lowest number of deportation in the country. This is good news. This record shows US President Joe Biden’s commitment to treating immigrants more humanely; this is a victory for immigrants.

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