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

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.

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Why I Love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not for political reasons

I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love AOC.

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My political affiliation couldn't be kept a secret even if I tried. In the words of my mother, I've been a liberal since I popped out of the womb. So to me, the dramatic change in representation in the House was a huge win for me at this time in history.

While I sit on one side of the aisle because that's where I hear the most conversations about my closest political beliefs happening, I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first I'd ever heard of this powerful voice from New York was in a video being shared around on Facebook that gave me a strong sense of hope that I haven't felt in a while. She explains the nuance behind "identity politics" and the importance of complete representation in Congress in terms of race, class, and policy. Here was a young woman in my generation (or just outside of it) running for Congress because she knew there was work to be done, not because she knew she would win, or because of some larger force paying her to win, or because she comes from a family of politicians. She ran because she was passionate and because she works to understand her district and represent them in ways that give her district a matched fight with revolving-door politicians who know how to play the game.

This woman, to me, represents accessibility into politics for Americans. When I first started listening to politicians and presidents talk on TV, I remember listening to Obama speak my freshman year of high school (maybe for a state of the union address?) and I asked my mom what a lot of words meant. I learned what poverty, immigration, economic policy, taxes, the middle-class, and more were. She had answers for some but not all of my questions, and then I asked why they felt the need to use such big, intimidating words? Weren't they supposed to represent the country, who to my understanding, probably didn't know what all of these words meant if my own mother didn't? (Moms know everything.)

I didn't want to be left behind in a country that made decisions based on Harvard graduate levels of thinking when most of us were in fact, not Harvard graduates. I was aware when Obama used words I had on a vocabulary test the week before, and I was aware that my honors class was strikingly different from my friends' general education English classes, and that our entire high school was years ahead of some less privileged schools 30-minutes away. But all of us, no matter how politically accessible our situations were or not, were to be represented by a man using these words.

AOC is progressive (in a non-political sense) for Americans because she uses rhetoric and tools to educate Americans instead of persuading or intimidating them to think that she just knows best. She's a politician, yes, so of course she uses persuasive techniques to get policy she believes in to pass so she can do her job as a legislator. But have you seen her Instagram stories or heard her speak in interviews?

Her style of leadership involves a refreshing level of transparency and group participation. I feel like I'm allowed to ask questions about what happens in Washington D.C., and about what another congressperson meant when they said ______. She answers questions like these online to her followers, some of which are her represented correspondents, and some of which are people outside of her district just desperate to expose themselves to any congressperson willing to talk to them on their level. Her flow inspires the average American to listen and checks the confident incumbent from underestimating just how much she knows.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to afford college. Not all of us are fortunate enough to come from a community where high schools prepared and primed us for college-level vocabulary filled conversations. Some of us have to accept politics as a realm with which we can never be involved, heard, or interactive. A.O.C. is what's changing this mentality. 43% of adults living in poverty function at low literacy rates. If they can't understand political rhetoric, how will they be able to democratically participate? Politicians spend so much time talking about poverty rates and how they want to move every family into a middle-class lifestyle, but they don't alter their political approach to invite the poverty-stricken or under-educated Americans into their conversations. AOC does this.

She spends time every night explaining whatever her followers have questions about in full detail. She actually uses up-to-date technology and social media to communicate with Americans, making older senators look lazy or technologically incompetent for not engaging with their community as often or as explicitly. Not to mention, every video I've ever seen produced by her or her team (including her Instagram stories) have closed-captions already edited in. She considers every American to be her audience before speaking, and the fact that what she's doing feels new and refreshing to me suggests just how badly we need her, and more people like her, in politics today.

This isn't even because of her understanding that literacy affects voting--in the original video I saw of her, she understands that the people she represents were flat-out not being addressed in politics. "People aren't voting because no one is speaking to them." Truly and meaningfully, directly and honestly.

She's America's teacher, a representative of why mentorship on all levels is important, and to me, what America would look like if our politicians were not only our representatives, but our educators, our mentors, and our teammates.

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