US Immigration

Everything You Need To Know About Our Country’s Current Immigration Situation

From legal immigration to refugees, asylees to the Migrant Caravan, we've got you covered.

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Currently, a quick search of the phrase "US Immigration" on Twitter will result in multiple tweets containing opinions about ICE, President Trump's stance on immigration, and stories of the recent #MigrantCaravan. All of the information you see on a daily basis in regard to immigration may seem pretty overwhelming. With so much of this information circulating the media, it becomes easier for us to take things out of true context and harder for us to determine fact from fiction. So, to make your lives easier, to clarify, and to keep you more informed, here is a rundown of the current immigration situation in the US.

1. The current U.S. immigration policy

Visa

The current US immigration policy is extremely complicated, but the process of legally immigrating into the US is important to know. For people currently residing outside of the US, they must apply for an immigrant visa with their respective US embassy or consulate. The US government provides these key steps in the process of obtaining the visa:

1. In most cases, someone must "sponsor" you or file an immigrant petition for you.

2. Once the petition is approved, and there is a visa available in your category, you apply for either a Green Card or an immigrant visa.

3. You get a medical examination.

4. You go to an interview.

5. You receive a decision on your application.

2. The procedure for refugees and asylum seekers

UNHCR

Recently, we've been seeing a lot of stories on the news about the US policy on refugees and asylum-seekers. According to the government, "Refugees are people who fled their homes for a variety of reasons, including persecution (or the fear of persecution) and war, to find protection elsewhere." Through the US Refugee Admissions Program, the refugee's case is reviewed by the Resettlement Support Center (RSC) and approved by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Approved refugees are put through security and health screenings to make sure they aren't bringing any contagious diseases into the country. Once approved for resettlement in the US, the refugees are provided with assistance like a cultural orientation course and access to the Department of State's Reception and Placement Program.

3. The purpose of stricter immigration policies

immigrants

Our current immigration policies are put in place to ensure that these immigrants are good people, have a good reason for coming into the country, and have people in the country to support them as they transition. In the end, they receive either a family-based visa, in which they currently have a family member who is a US citizen or is a permanent resident, or an employment-based visa, where they are sponsored by an employer.

4. The recent cost of illegal immigration

wall

The recent #MigrantCaravan is a great event to see how our laws and policies on immigration and refugees are applied. With a number of these migrants coming from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador reaching the Mexico/US border, they all come with the hope of building a better life for their families. Many are fleeing from the dangers of gangs, and many are looking for a job in order to send to their family members in their home country—which is the same for a lot of migrants from other countries as well. The thing that makes this event special is the sheer number of people who came to the border and the way they tried to enter the country—through methods not compliant with our country's legal procedures.

According to US policy, those seeking asylum would have to be taken in and given a hearing for their claims. But, since this policy is designed to help those with a reasonable expectation of persecution in their home country and many are just looking for a chance at a better life, they have had tried to simply cross the border illegally instead. In doing so, border fences were broken, stones were thrown at American border patrol, and violence has grown by the very people trying to escape violence. On their way up from their respective countries, they had actually violently entered Mexico violently as well, breaking the Guatemala/Mexico border fence and attacking their respective border officials. The tear gas famously thrown at these people was legal in that it was a form of defense for Mexican patrol officers and the country as a whole.

In recent news, not only have these migrants tried to enter our county and others illegally, but many are bringing things that would not be beneficial if they entered into the US. According to a spokesman for Tijuana's health department, about 2,267 of the migrants in this caravan are being treated for health-related issues. These complications include respiratory infections, chickenpox, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, lice, and skin infections. In addition, U.S. border patrol agents have arrested a member of the dangerous MS-13 gang who was trying to illegally enter the country—29-year-old Jose Villalobos-Jobel is responsible for a number of murders in the US.

Although our President may have some harsh comments about our current immigration situation, the laws, policies, and procedures are put into place so that we ensure the safety and security of our citizens, our country's first priority. Our immigration officials are set up to protect us from dangers not only from violence but from diseases as well.The Migration Policy Institute estimates a total of 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living in the US since 2016, with the majority coming from California and Texas.

5. The benefits of legal immigration

Shown in the Annual Flow Report of Lawful Permanent Residents by the Department of Homeland Security, "A total of 1,127,167 people became lawful permanent residents of the US. Currently, there are a little over 37 million legal immigrants in the US, and in 2016 there were about 10.7 million illegal immigrants.

Undoubtedly though, immigrants are a great part of our nation. They are twice as likely to earn a doctorate than children of native-born parents, and they definitely contribute to our economy. They contribute to new innovations and businesses in the US and contribute to the development of a more diverse and inclusive culture within our nation.

Hopefully, by becoming more informed we can come to terms with respecting the laws, rules, and regulations of each country, understand the reason why these are set in place, and work to create a better policy that benefits all of us.

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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