Legal Immigration vs. Illegal Immigration

Immigrants are people who come from one country to live permanently in another country. Looking at the history of the United States, it is easy to see the millions of immigrants who have called the United States their home throughout the years. So what's all the talk about immigrants in modern times? Well, those debating the issue are usually distinguishing between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.

Unfortunately, people tend to stereotype immigrants and group them together into one category. The reality is that some immigrants are here legally and some immigrants are not. What's the difference?

Put quite simply, legal immigrants are here legally. The United States admits between 700,000 to 900,000 legal immigrants each year. Legal immigrants have the proper, legal documentation to live and work in the country. They applied for the appropriate visa. They were accepted for one of the reasons needed to enter: family (they are spouses, parents, or minor children of U.S. citizens), employment (priority workers, unskilled, religious workers, or investors), humanitarian (refugees, those seeking asylum, or those who might have been removed), or visa lottery. They prove they have money, a job offer, or plan to study. They receive a temporary visa or apply permanently, obtain a green card, and become citizens. They often wait a long time to go through the legal process. They agree to follow the laws of the country, and they are here because the government approved them to be here. They follow the legal road to become citizens, so they pay taxes, they can vote, and they have a social security number.

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