This might get me in some hot water, but straight up – I’m frustrated by the verbiage used by various media about illegal aliens. They are NOT undocumented citizens and they are not immigrants. So let’s just be real here, is that okay with you?
There are several statuses one can have as it relates to citizenship:
Citizen – There are two types of citizens, those through birth (born in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the Virgin Islands or born outside the US but have parents who are citizens (including adoption)) and those receiving citizenship through naturalization processes.
That’s it as far as the label citizen – so you can not be an undocumented citizen. Well, I guess there is a slight bit of time right after you are born when you technically are undocumented, but you get the idea.
A Naturalized Citizen starts out as an alien. Homeland Security defines an alien as “Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”
Naturalized Citizen – These are aliens who meet the following criteria: 1) 18 years of age; 2) lawfully admitted for permanent residence; 3) resided in the country for five years (three if married to citizen) AFTER being admitted for LPR status and been in the county for at least 2.5 years prior to filing; 4) good moral character; 5) support the Constitution and be disposed to good order and happiness of the US.
We also have a Free Association Agreement with the Federated States of Micronesia, Ruplic of Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palua. These citizens can enter the US and stay for an indefinite period of time without restrictions.
Even in this case, you can not be an undocumented citizen. This means there are no undocumented citizens in the US at this time, and never will be. Can we all agree on this?
Alien’s can fall into one of several Immigrant categories:
LPR – These are lawful permanent residents. They have been allowed to reside and work permanently. Many of us will recognize the term “Green Card Holders,” that’s these people. There are several categories and requirements for green card holders, look them up if you want more details.
Conditional Permanent Residents – These aliens are in the middle of the process based on an application for permanent resident status based on marriage to an LPR or Citizen. These are only good for 2 years.
Visa Immigrant: These are aliens who will eventually apply or are in the process of applying for citizenship. Family-Sponsored, VAWA Self-Petitioner, SIJ, Refugee/Asylee, Foreign Student, Work, etc.
Visa Waiver Program – Citizens of participating countries in the US for 90 days or less for tourism or business. Note some countries NOT on the list: Mexico; Canada, and Cuba. Also, it excludes national’s of Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan.
Aliens can also fall into one of several Non-Immigrant categories. If these aliens remain “out of status” for at least 180 days they are deportable and unable to re-enter for 3 years. If they remain out of status for at least 365 days, they are deportable and unable to re-enter for 10 years. Why? Because they are now in illegal status – previously documented – but now illegal.
Visa Non-Immigrant Temporary: These are aliens who are entering on a temporary basis for a limited period of time. Victim of Trafficking in Persons, and Crime Victim or Witness, etc.
Undocumented Alien – THESE are the people everyone has been talked about. The IRS defines these people as “an alien who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended, or an alien who entered the United States legally but who has fallen “out of status” and is deportable.”
You can see there are many ways for people from other countries to be in the US LEGALLY. And the only way to be here ILLEGALLY is basically to sneak across the boarder or use false identification to enter or remain.
We cannot really have illegal immigrants either. So no such thing an undocumented citizens nor illegal immigrants. So let’s get our terms right, they are either UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS, ILLEGAL ALIENS or ILLEGAL NON-IMMIGRANTS.
It’s very important we distinguish between LEGAL and ILLEGAL Aliens when we talk about many of the topics today. And keep in our minds those who are Illegal (undocumented citizens, *rolls eyes*) are breaking laws. As much as I dislike and think it is unnecessary to call them criminals, technically, every illegal alien is a law breaker, which makes them a criminal. Even if they are really nice people.
I’m just trying to figure out why we are so readily accepting of breaking the law here? Should we just let petty theft go? Don’t know what that means? It means if someone breaks into your house and steals under say, $750 worth of stuff, they have committed “Petty Theft”. Is that okay with you? Would you classify these people as criminals?
What about a joyrider? Someone who doesn’t intend to keep your vehicle permanently, but just takes it for a ride and leaves it some where? Is that okay with you? Are they criminals or just undocumented drivers? *grin* I think by now you should see the point.
As I did my research for this, it dawned on me how unfair it is granting the illegal aliens rights and privileges when there are so many legal aliens waiting for due process to take place. They chose to work through the system as it was designed. I bet it’s very frustrating to them. Where are their voices? Who’s interviewing them? Who’s fighting for them?
I’m not really this harsh. I wish we could just take everyone in. My heart goes out to those who want in the US, especially those who have a terrible life and are persecuted in their country. But law is law. There are many I wish I could change and/or break, but I can’t and I don’t. I mean come on, who really WANTS to pay taxes, right?