The Legal Options For Entering America

Trump’s plans to crack down on immigration could potentially lead to the deportation of around 11 million undocumented immigrants who currently reside in the U.S. However, there are still a number of legal ways for non-U.S citizens to enter America whether it is on a temporary basis or a long term one.

DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as a child under the age of 16. This was introduced by Obama in June 2012 and applies if they were under the age of 31 (at the time of June 15, 2012) and are either currently attending high school, have already graduated from high school or have been honourably discharged from the military. They must also have never been convicted of a crime.

Visa

This is a travel document that allows a person to request entry into America. Since there are different reasons that they might want entry to the USA, there are also different types of visa to accommodate this. It should also be noted that a visa doesn’t guarantee entry, but their visa will be considered by Customs and Border Protection who will decide if the non-U.S citizen will be allowed to enter.

Refugee Status

To attain refugee status a person who has had to flee their own country due to war, violence or persecution. The fear of persecution is due to the person’s religious beliefs, race, political stance, nationality, or being a part of a specific social group. Refugees are evaluated by the United Nations High Commissioner who determine which countries suit which individuals best. There are only a small amount of people who are referred to America, at just 1%. They must have a referral from the United States Refugee Admissions Program, and if accepted a lengthy process follows that can take between 18 – 24 months on average.

Green Card

This is for non-U.S. citizens who are residents there permanently and permits them to legally live and work in America. The three routes that a person could qualify for a green card, which are through their relatives, through their place of work, or through refugee status.

Citizenship

Individuals who would like to gain citizenship could do so after they have been in possession of a green card for 5 years or more. There are forms to fill in, biometrics to be taken and then an interview where they will be tested on both English and civics. If either tests are failed, they may re-sit them between 60 and 90 days from the first attempt. If they pass, they will have to take the “Oath of Allegiance”.

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