Roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. That number has recently begun to move upwards due to ample opportunities in America and difficult political climates in Central and South America.
If you or somebody that you know is residing in the United States as an undocumented person, it’s important that you understand the implications of the current situation.
In this blog post, our team briefly outlines 5 fast facts pertaining to legal immigration and illegal residency that you might find helpful.
1. Family Immigration Is a Common Pathway to Residency
If you’re residing in the United States undocumented, it may behoove you to apply for legal residency. Understand though that doing so may require that you go back to your country of origin.
One of the most common pathways to legal residency (receiving a green card) is through family-based immigration which allows people from other places to apply for residency if they have a relative that is a United States citizen.
Family immigration claims are capped per country and caps might be shrinking soon per immigration policy changes.
2. Refugee Admissions Are Capped
Another means of legal immigration is via claiming refugee status. Refugees are defined as persons that are fleeing countries in the midst of war or other means of incessant terror.
Refugees can request access at US port of entry.
The number of refugees is capped each year and that cap is shrinking on an annual basis. Today, less than half of the refugees that were admitted in 2016 are being let into the country.
3. Employment-Based Green Cards Represent Growing Opportunity
The current administration’s proposals to make immigration skill-based means that more employment-based green cards are going to be given out to those that possess talents which fill the needs of American business owners.
Understanding which kinds of skills are in high-demand and perfecting those skills can give immigrants hoping for legal residency a fast-track into the country.
4. It Is a Crime to Enter the US Without Being Formally Admitted
There is a lot of confusion around asylum claims which has caused some to think that entering the United States without passing through a port of entry is permissible, so long as the person entering is fleeing danger.
This is not the case.
Entering the United States without being formally admitted by a government official is punishable by fines, jail time and deportation.
5. Undocumented Persons Don’t Have a Constitutional Right to Legal Counsel
If arrested, undocumented persons will not receive a government-appointed attorney. For that reason, many rely on volunteers or contact a private immigration law office.
Do you suspect that you might be arrested as an undocumented person? If so do, we can’t recommend enough that you be proactive in obtaining legal counsel.
Closing Out Our 5 Legal Immigration Facts
Our legal immigration facts illustrate some pathways to residency. They also show shortcomings that you might face if you choose to enter the United States illegally.
We hope that our information has brought some clarity to you or a loved one’s situation. If you’d like more information on immigration or other lifestyle topics that pertain to your life, browse more of the content on our blog.