Let’s talk about immigration..and what most people probably don’t know.
The big topic.. that not a lot of people talk about or understand but that many have strong opinions about. Because the immigration “rhetoric” is common, I thought it would be best to do my own research to get the conversation started. To teach others while simultaneously teaching myself more about this topic. So below I am going to include 4 general facts about immigration in the United States that I think everyone should know. There are many more important aspects of immigration that I will not include in this post.
- Most of the undocumented immigrants in the US come into the United States legally, but overstayed their visas. The idea that the bulk of undocumented immigrants entering the United States illegally across the border is erroneous (source). Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is not likely to stop immigrants from entering the country, as many of them do so by taking a regular old plane.
- There are many different avenues for gaining legal permanent residency in the US. I will not go into specifics of each because there are many. I will share a few below:
- Family-Based: This form constitutes most of the pathway to residency, more than half. This has to do with being a direct relative to a U.S. citizen (source).
- Refugee: This form has 14% of the total immigration into the United States (source)
- Employment-Based: This is 13% (source).
Each of the above ways towards residency have their specific requirements, some taking longer than others.
3. The idea that immigrants come into the United States to have babies here, which then in turn would help them gain their residency is flawed. The baby would automatically be a US citizen through birthright citizenship, but they cannot petition their parents until they are 21. That would leave the parents living under an undocumented status for many years. This will make their lives notably more difficult.
4. The statement that immigrants receive federal aid or public funding is common. The truth of the matter is that generally this is not the case. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, SSI, or other public funding aid. In dire circumstances, like life-threatening circumstances, they can receive access to treatment in emergency rooms, and emergency Medicaid (source.)
The immigration system in the U.S. is broken in many ways. There are people that have been waiting over 20 years to receive their residency. There are people who came legally and before overstaying their visas they followed one of the paths I labeled above, and have been waiting since. Laws are constantly changing, and a law that allowed someone to work legally in the U.S. 10 years ago, can be obsolete today. This can change an entire family in a blink of an eye.
Neither Democrats or Republicans have been able to come up with a bipartisan approach to reforming the immigration system. It seems that whenever they try, there is constant bickering on both sides at the expense of many families that have been living in this country for many many years.
Please refer to https://www.fwd.us/immigration/ for more information about what immigration reform could look like.