United States Immigration: A System Overview

June 03, 2021

Action Immigration

The latest numbers on border apprehensions show that in the fiscal year 2020, over 400,000 people were apprehended

United States immigration has certainly had its problems over the years. It's also had some bad press of late. 

There's a lot of information out there about immigration, border crossing, and apprehensions. It doesn't matter what source your information comes from.

You'll hear one side or another in a seemingly constant back and forth of gibberish. 

If you want to learn some basic facts about United States immigration, keep reading. 

How Does United States Immigration Work?

The US immigration system is extremely complex. The United States immigration policy has, for the most part, been lenient compared to other countries in history.

But in recent years, especially since 2000, or since 9-11, things have tightened up and many more people have been forced to pay immigration bonds.

Family-Based Immigration

The unification of families is one of the main components of the United States' immigration policy. Family-based immigrants can fall into two categories:

  • Immediate Relatives

Immediate relatives can be spouses of US citizens, parents of US citizens, and unmarried minor children of parents who are US citizens and who are under 21 years of age. 

It should be noted that the petitioner who's petitioning for a parent to became a legal immigrant to the US must be over 21 years old:

  • Family Preference System

There's a limited number of visas each year that fall under the Family Preference System. Petitioners for Family Preference visas must meet age and financial requirements. 

These visas are available for spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents. They can be a minor or an adult.

Brothers and sisters of US citizens are eligible. Plus, married and unmarried adult children. The petitioner has to be 21 years or older to petition for their sibling. 

Employment-Based Immigration

If you have certain valuable skills, you can get a temporary or permanent visa. There are more than 20 types of these visas available:

  • P Visas
  • A Visas
  • R-1
  • L-1
  • O-1
  • Varios H Visas

Terms for these visas vary, and they can be given to both higher skilled and lesser skilled applicants. 

Refugees and Those Seeking Asylums

If a person can display a well-founded threat of persecution, they don't have to return to their home country. The United States can grant them asylum. 

Every year congress and the president work together to come up with the number of people they'll allow as refugees. 

The fiscal year 2020 saw only 18,000 refugee or asylum immigrants allowed into the US. That's the lowest ever. 

Diversity Visas

If you have a high school education or equivalent, you can apply to be one of the 5,000 Diversity Visa Lottery winners every year. 

You also need to have at least two years of experience working in a profession that requires two years of training.

The US Immigration System

Now you know the basics of how the United States immigration system works. It's complicated, but with these tips, you can simplify it. 

You have family immigration, employment immigration, refugee status, and diversity visas.

If you or a loved one needs help with your immigration status, contact us today

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