The issues of immigration

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by wongulous, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. wongulous macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I wanted to start a thread to not only garner information from immigrants that might be reading here and general information about immigration, but to (without judgement) toss back and forth theories about immigration , immigrants, failures in our immigration services, and the effects of immigration on our economy, quality of life, etc. I searched and there were a couple of threads authored by those seeking to immigrate and information on how to do it, which was educational and started me off exploring some other opinion websites and the US immigration services website (which is very lame--they reference other documents, supposedly on their website, constantly, but do not hyperlink and these documents are often very hard to locate even for an English-speaking US native!).

    Here's some of what I know already:

    To immigrate into the U.S., you either need a visa (varying types from tourist visa, fiancee visa, employer visa, small business visa, to student visa), or a green card (permanent residency).

    To be guaranteed a permanent residency card, and successfully immigrate, assuming no other snafus, it would seem that a person would need one or more of the following:
    - a marriage to a US citizen
    - a parent that is a US citizen (assuming you are a minor)
    - a child that is a US citizen and at least 21 years of age

    All of these other "family" green card types have a limited annual number:
    - unmarried children of US citizens that are at least 21 years of age
    - a spouse or a parent that is a lawful permanent resident (what exactly is the difference between a "citizen" and a "lawful permanent resident"?)
    - unmarried children of lawful permanent residents that are at least 21 years of age
    - married children of US citizens (no age restriction?)
    - brothers and sisters of US ciitizens that "are adults" (does this mean at least 21?)

    Then there are the similarly amount-limited "employer" green cards:
    - "Priority workers," or "persons with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or outstanding professors and researchers"
    - "Professionals holding advanced degrees (Ph.D., master's degree, or at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience) or persons of exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business"
    - "Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers"
    - "Certain special immigrants: ministers, religious workers, current or former US government workers, etc."
    - Investors

    Then there are the "political asylum" and "refugee" green cards, which I need to research more to understand the difference and when they would apply (but I don't think there are enough of those--despite the unlimited availability--to make a huge difference, and I also don't think these visa types are the ones that are currently being posed as a societal issue with immigration... but what do I know about Mexico anyway?).

    Finally, there is the "Diversity Immigrant" type green card, which is based on the "green card lottery" that I had heard of (and I'm sure most have), which makes green cards easily available to countries that have the lowest numbers of immigration to the US (I'm assuming to balance things out).

    There are also some per-country limitations on numbers of immigrants (not a surprise, they're China, India, Mexico, and the Phillippines) receiving permanent residency... but I'm having trouble finding out if these quotas apply to all types of green cards or just specific ones.

    Anyway, I'll have to abridge my first post for now (time for lunch!), but anyone with informatin, please do respond and add to this. Thanks!
     
  2. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #2
    Not sure what you're after exactly, but the difference between a citizen and a "lawful permanent resident" is pretty obvious. A person has to establish lawful permanent residence in the U.S. for a given period of time before they can apply for citizenship. Probably the best example is someone who marries a U.S. citizen -- they can live legally in the U.S. as a resident alien for as long as they like, or, after a time, apply for citizenship.
     
  3. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #3
    Yeah, I find this process very frustrating indeed. Right now I'm just waiting for my girlfriend to move into the States so that we can have a better life together. Hmm... so much bureaucracy and meaningless paperwork involved. :rolleyes:
     
  4. wongulous thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Well, I'm after this:

    - an understanding of the immigration process
    - the various levels of immigration possible (visas vs green card)
    - issues people have with immigration, which may lead to illegal alien immigration
    - the effects of immigration
    - the effects of illegal alien immigration
    - issues with the immigration system as it exists currently

    Thank you for the explanation. I've not found on a lot of documents anything about a "resident alien" status. Would a "resident alien" possess a visa, specifically like an extended stay visa? Would they stay here and need to periodically re-apply for that visa with the US, or contact their home country for that? Or visit it? Or is "resident alien" the same as "lawful permanent resident," which would mean they already have a green card ("lawful permanent residency..."), but are not yet a citizen?

    So this means that getting a green card does not yet make you a citizen? How do you become a citizen after getting the green card/lawful permanent residence status, and how many years of lawful permanent residence must be maintained to begin that process?
     
  5. wongulous thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I was talking with a coworker today who says that he thinks that we should completely lock (close AND secure) our borders to Mexico, specifically. I asked him why, and he had a typical macho conservative American male response, "They're taking all our jobs! And we pay for their illegal alien kids' school!"

    This is exactly the kind of ignorance that I do not wish to possess.

    While I'm not exactly a proponent of open borders after doing some research, I am still pro-immigration. I think that immigrant acceptance has always been, and should always be, a cornerstone of our American values. However, I do think that in light of our population and potential modern-day reasons for immigration (especially criminal behavior), there should be some screening process. Obviously a big part of that should be (and is) verification of one's identity, as well. After doing more and more research, I am becoming less thrilled about the idea of the growing population of completely-illegal aliens not on visas or green cards, especially those who may have serious and threatening criminal histories or who have no education and lead unsafe, harmful, society-detracting lifestyles. I am also becoming intensely more curious as to WHY they are illegal.

    Is it difficult to get a visa to the U.S. when you are Mexican? Is it impossible to get a visa for any of the reasons that I specified for which there is green card issuance? Is the Mexican government stopping people from getting visas? Is it prohibitively expensive? Obviously one wanting to immigrate would first need a visa, to come to the U.S., and to figure out if it is what it is cracked up to be, and then potentially find family, get a job offer, find a potential mate, etc, and then possibly get a different visa classification for longer stay... and then get on the (potentially backlogged) list for a green card.

    The interesting thing is that if you don't have family in the US (of specific relations), you don't have a job offer (and an employer willing to go to bat for your visa), you aren't married to someone in the U.S., and you aren't a celebrity (they get special 'O'-type visas), then you can only really get a tourist visa... and it seems like we don't want you here.

    Which, from what I have read, many Mexican citizens simply want to move here for a better life for themselves and their family, because of the "opportunities" and "wealth" of the U.S., or because they do not like the Mexican government or the opportunities for them in the Mexican society... All of these reasons sort of run together. From my [limited] experience in Mexico at several ports and their adjoining cities while on a cruise, as well as what little I know about Mexico and its government, outside of Mexico City, and sometimes even then, I can completely understand their feelings. The same feelings, I assume, are felt by those who immigrate to the U.S. from any part of the rest of the world. I watched Dirty Pretty Things and I wondered why they couldn't get visas and become legal, though I assumed preventative, overly-bureaucratic governments and prohibitive costs or timeframes might be the reasons. Any other insights as to why?

    And furthermore, what is the deal with Mexico? All I read in the blogosphere and technology world are the projects of Mexico in Mexico City like city-wide WiFi, and programs to trade in laptops and Xbox 360s for guns and criminal activity information. I've heard from some people (who likely know next to nothing about Mexico) that the problems which plague Mexico and incite desire to immigrate are based in how Mexico City is the only population center of Mexico with any positive economic growth, and that the rest, outside of seaports, are shantytowns with no jobs and no capital/wealth to get 'started.' Which is weird to me, as I have seen towns develop by simply starting a gas station or other business and homes popping up around it until a small village turned into a town and into a city with an inherent economy and inherent job market, all of which scaling with its population. Does this not happen in Mexico? Why?
     
  6. wongulous thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Maybe I should request this get moved to general discussion... :confused:
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    A lot of what you'd like to know factually can be found by googling. As for opinions, we've had parts of the immigration debate elsewhere on these boards. However, in general I find that few people have much interest in discussing immigration issues in any great depth.
     
  8. wongulous thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Obviously, and I have been. The issues I'm coming up against are (a) the USCIS website is HORRIBLY made, and makes very little explanation of things, not using weblinks when referring to other documents, using multiple names for documents, etc, (b) a lot of online resources are hearsay, marketing, opinions, or dated information, and/or (c) a lot of in-depth questions are generally answered to people wishing to immigrate with "see an immigrations lawyer," which doesn't really help me, a US citizen wishing to learn about the issues of the process, with finding specific answers.

    As far as the Mexico stuff, I'm researching that now and I just wanted to add some of the questions floating through my head here, so that I can post what I find for answers later while also inviting discussion. I'm going to interview some Mexican immigrants for their perspective about the Mexican lifestyle, government, and economy, as well as immigration pressures.

    As I said, I did find a couple of threads discussing how to immigrate, but the same answers were given about contacting an immigrations lawyer and very specific scenarios. I'm more looking for a general guide and dichotomy of the process and its issues or loopholes. Most unfortunately, however, is the reality that 99.9% of people I talk with at work, outside of work, at school, outside of school, family, friends, etc do NOT want to talk about these in-depth parts of immigration, and even people online don't have much interest in discussing it in-depth. A good portion of those same people will freely vocalize their unfounded, uneducated, quite often raucously offensive opinions about immigration, and more specifically, what they think of immigrants... that makes me sad for our country.

    Thanks for responding at least.
     
  9. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

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    #9
    Actually, currently all you need to do is cross the border by any means possible, and wait for congress to be majority democratic. Then, inevitably, an amnesty law will be enacted and you will be legal. ;)
     
  10. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #10
    It's so ironic especially when people don't realize their own heritage. Only the American Indians are the true natives (actually they are immigrants from the Indus Valley out in India) on this continent maybe a few Vikings (actually they are immigrants from Vinland) here and there. I guess no true natives if you look at it from a different perspective.
     
  11. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #11
    Uh, no it's not that simple!!! :(
     
  12. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

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    #12
    That's what the " ;) " is for. ;)
     
  13. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #13
    Indeed especially I'm hoping that my girlfriend will be here soon :D
     
  14. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #14
    One example:

    I'm a Canadian Citizen by birth and parentage.

    Country of Birth: Canada.
    Mother: Natural Born Canadian Citizen.
    Father: Natural Born American Citizen, born: California, Naturalized Canadian.

    But:

    Because I remained in both parent's custody till I was 18, they were still married at that time, and we had at that time been living in California for several years I am also a Natural Born American Citizen, Born Abroad.

    So:

    I am the natural born dual-citizen.
    My Mother is a Permanent Resident Alien.
    My Father remains of dual citizenry.

    We all still live in California.
     
  15. wongulous thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    mischief, that is fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing. Can I ask a couple more questions of you (possibly your parents)? Did your mother find the process difficult? What years did she go through the processes, and did she obtain a visa first, or simply go straight for the green card? I assume that because you had only been in Cali for a few years by the time you were 18, and you were born in Canada, that they married there, and your mother was granted a green card for being a spouse of an American citizen. Now, as a permanent resident alien, is that somehow different from being a full citizen? What was her process like?

    Thanks so much for the insight.
     
  16. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #16
    They were married down here, then emigrated to Canada. I was born a couple of years later. They met while my mother was living down here with her parents, at that time her whole family had RA status though I'm not sure if they were PRA's or here through her dad's work at that time.

    When we moved back down here I was 9 or so. Mum applied for PRA status as dad's spouse, which is relatively easy coming from Canada. I am considered an American Born Abroad by the State Department so I was issued a US passport at the US consolate in Vancouver before we came down.

    My de facto dual citizenship circumvents the State Department's usual mutual-exclusivity clause because Canada will always recognize me as a Canadian citizen due to my mother's citizenship status, dad's being a naturalized Canadian and that I was born up there. If I claim Canadian citizenship and emmigrate the US State Department will attempt to revolk my citizenship and I will have to file a protest with a signed affidavit from Dad attesting to my remaining in his custody within the US when I became a citizen and have remained a resident here the majority of my life.

    I may have some problems with Real ID if it ever gets implemented as originally written because the process I fall under does not have a significant paper trail.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    Exactly. When these immigration discussions come up, they are invariably dominated by the emotional issue of illegal immigration. Hardly anyone wants to discuss the reasons why so many people attempt to immigrate illegally, which would require an understanding of how the immigration laws have changed to make legal immigration into the U.S. a virtual impossibility. The interest level in discussing first principles with respect to immigration is pretty darned low. It's so much easier, and politically potent, to rail about illegal immigrants, and how they should be kept out by any means necessary, or sent back where they came from.
     
  18. obeygiant macrumors 68040

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    #18
    orly? Whats her name? Are you two going to post on MR together? ;)
     
  19. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #19
    Uh, she doesn't use an Apple because they don't have Mac computers in her country. She has a rather old computer (PC) she uses to email me.

    Her name is Albina. Very exceptional lady, certainly a contrast to the old boor straight outta Queens like me.

    When she gets here to the US, one of our dates will be a trip to the Apple Store. She will have to learn what an iPod is.
     
  20. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    #20
    I tried from a humanistic perspective, not so much legal-talk. :eek:
     
  21. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #21
    Hmm... perhaps a stance on the ease of reproduction would be ideal? http://coa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/short/20/2/191

    After all, I'm pretty intent on propagating the genes from myself soon :D
     
  22. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #22
    Wow... I missed that the first time around.

    Very well said.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    Yup, that about says it.

    Aren't we scared enough already?
     
  24. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #24
    Quote from other thread:

    Yeah, I always thought Mexicans were people too. Me culpa. Canadians took my last job, and I didn't hear anyone complaining too much. I do hear complaining about East Indians though, and lots of complaining about Muslims, so maybe it's just brown people.

    To be fair though, I really hated that job and love this one, and doubt I'll be outsourced again.
     

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