General Question

goose756's avatar

What is the process of legal immigration into the U.S.?

Asked by goose756 (655points) April 23rd, 2010

Arizona recently passed a law basically saying that if you commit a crime (say even a speeding ticket) and they have reason to believe you may be an illegal immigrant they can ask for your proof of residency. Apparently there is a huge fuss over it, and many people think it is horrible.

I’m kind of confused because isn’t this just making it easier to enforce a law that is already in place? Why don’t people just immigrate legally? What is the process to do so? Is it difficult? Expensive?

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21 Answers

bob_'s avatar

Applying for a tourist visa costs around $130, on top of the expenses necessary to go to a consulate if there isn’t one in the city where one lives. You need to demontrate that you have the resources to pay for your stay in the U.S., and that you have ties to your original country of residence, so that you’d go back afterwards. Evidently, many people don’t have these resources.
To get a work visa, your potential employer needs to do all the paperwork, and there’s a limit to the number of visas given on any year.

trailsillustrated's avatar

it’s really expensive

goose756's avatar

also I have another question – I’ve been TRYING to find more information on this bill, but its near impossible with all the news articles that come up in my search.. if you KNOW the facts of the bill maybe you can help me out. Does it allow law enforcement to ask ANYONE if they are a legal immigrant, or does it allow them to only ask them if they first are caught breaking a law?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

the new AZ bill makes it illegal not to have proof of citizenship or legal residency. This means the police can search you at will for any reason at all. Now, how many of us carry that paperwork on us at any given time?

Particularly it infringes on the rights of Latinos but in reality, it is a like the Nazi’s in Garmany. “Papers please!”.

I’m fairly certain the supreme court will eventually find AZ’s new law unconstitutional.

As an immigrant, your best bet is to get a job in the US.

The process of becoming a citizen is a long and agonizing process that can take upwards 10 years and requires a ridiculous amount of bureauocracy. So for a person to become a US citizen, I congratulate that because it takes more diligence and patience than most US born citizens possess.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

It’s a long tedious process.
Here’s the thing: there’s tons of undocumented Canadians in the US but hardly anything is ever said about it,,,,,I guess if you’re white it is OK !

alive's avatar

it is nearly impossible. for mexicans trying to immigrate legally, the current waiting time is about 20 years…

njnyjobs's avatar

I believe a US driver’s license is sufficient to establish legal status (whether US citizen, permanent resident or non-immigrant resident) as one of the requirements of obtaining a State issued driver’s license or ID card is proof of citizenship or legal resident status.

As far as the process of legal immigration, several routes can be taken to obtain Permanent Residency which may lead to US Citizenship via naturalization process. The processes may be through Family petition (having fiancee’, spouse, parents or children that are US Citizens), Employment petition (subject to qualifications and current USCIS quotas), Self petition if you are a person that qualifies as one of being categorized as “Exceptional”.

Lve's avatar

To immigrate legally you must:
– Find a job in the US, or
– Marry an US citizen, or
– Enter the Green card ‘lottery’ and get selected.

All of these options require a lot of paperwork and neither road is easy. It is also pretty expensive.

alive's avatar

i would say that the actual problem with that law is that it encourages racial profiling. of course there are people here without papers, but the majority of people in the US are citizens, and a cop pulling you over and assuming you are illegal just because you have dark skin is pretty insulting. there are plenty of mexicans that are light skined. so if you are light skined and illegal, you could stay, because your status won’t be questioned. but if you are brown you will get kicked out.

i mean think about it…. an “american” can be asian, black, etc… what makes you think that there are no asian south-americans. about 3% of all peruvians are japanese link

DrasticDreamer's avatar

The new law enables police to stop people whenever they want, even if that person hasn’t broken any kind of law. Basically, it allows police to question every single Latino they see, just because they’re Latino.

It’s completely fucked up.

goose756's avatar

@DrasticDreamer ahh gotcha… now it makes sense – i was under the impression that a law needed to be visibly broken first. Under these circumstances I completely agree that it is a bad law.

I feel like if they changed JUST that aspect of it, it would be more widely accepted, no?

WestRiverrat's avatar

According to the person that wrote the bill, you cannot just be stopped and asked for your ID for walking down the street. He was on CNN not too long ago.

The police have to have a reasonable suspicion to ask for proof of citizenship. He claims there are specific criterea listed in the bill. I have not found a copy of the bill either, so I cannot say whether he is speaking truthfully.

alive's avatar

ha! “reasonable suspicion” .....

phillis's avatar

Okay, there are some misconceptions here. It is obvious to me that people have the desire to help, and that is a very good thing.

You can no longer become legal by marrying a U.S. citizen.
You can no longer find hardly ANY job. If the U.S. government suspects any employer of hiring an illegal, they have given themselves legal consent to seize, audit and close that business.
Illegals are no longer allowed to have licenses. Most of the existing ones have expired now. They still drive, only they’re unable to get insurance.
You must have a U.S. citizen sponsor your application to be legal.
You or your sponsor have so many ridiculous hoops to jump through that you won’t qualify. Guaranteed.
No one qualifies for asylum anymore. Sure, they offer it – if you can meet the new standards. Everybody currently here on asylum is having theri work visas cancelled.
Don’t get any tanner. White people don’t get accosted.
The current wait time without any legal hitches (bahahha!) is 3 years. We’ve been working on hubby’s since 2005. Our next court date is August, 1011.

What AZ is doing is the 287G on steroids. That proposal allows authorities to produce paperwork on demand, even if you were simply standing there. With the 287G, they must have a reason to ask you for proof of residency, which you can provide simply by showing your driver’s license. Only you won’t have one. So they take you into custody ostensibly based on it being a crime that you couldn’t provide the officer the license. Nice little racket, huh? While you’re in there, they look you up via HS records. Then they find out you’re illigal, and off you go back to wherever the hell you came from. You have 60 days to get out. Sorry about your family and all. See ya.

Currently, all jurisdictions in the U.S. volunarily work with ICE/Homeland Security to effectively clean out illegals in their area. That’s a fabulous idea, except that even if we don’t give a shit that families are being ripped apart, it’s crashing the economy in every one of these areas.

BhacSsylan's avatar

For those of you looking, here’s the bill: SB1070

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

They’re reporting on CNN,Arizona governor just signed it into law

alive's avatar

ugh! we should just kick Arizona out of the Union… see how all those rich white people like being “ILLEGALS”

phillis's avatar

Oh, fuuuuck. Somebody tell me….do I go to the east side, or the west side? It’s been so long I forgot. Heil!

goose756's avatar

ok well just by reading this section


this essentially is saying – “if an officer has reason to believe you are currently breaking the law by being in the U.S. as an illegal alien, they can arrest you”

now I guess the only way it could slide as something else is based on the definition of “probable cause”..

phillis's avatar

…...which means that essentially, officers are limited only by their creativity.

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