Immigrants have always had an important role in shaping countries for the better. On the other hand, the American government is not as accepting of them. Since the government seems to hate immigrants, they often have difficulty getting any legal status when coming to America. When migrants apply for a green card, they can wait for years upon end to actually receive one. If their family lives in America, they can’t stay for very long. When people come in on a workers visa, usually, no one is sympathetic enough to help them receive permanent residency. It is remarkably difficult to get citizenship status as an immigrant.
While there are arguments that say that receiving legal status should be simple, it truly is not. Immigrants have a hard time not being turned away from the US borders even if they seek safety. While many immigrants come here for opportunities with jobs, others usually come seeking asylum. The migrants usually flee from economic declines in their country and even dangers that they face. While their stories might be true, the American government has a hard time believing them and deports them back to the country where they felt danger. It is so difficult to receive any form of citizenship after arriving in the US. If the migrants don’t have any form of documents they get kicked out, even if they had succeeded in entering the country and done something to better it (“Why Can’t Immigrants”). In the end, it is likely they will get deported even if they try hard to stay. There are certain guidelines an immigrant has to reach to stay in the US, yet most of these people don’t have the ability to reach the lawful American immigration standards that are needed to live without the stress of renewing visas or getting deported. With Trump’s new policies, he decides to not cut only the flow of illegal immigrants to the US, but even ones who are legal as well (Alvarez). These immigrants try to find a place where they can be happy and begin a family without having any issues, but the government just does not want to make people’s lives easier and turns innocent immigrants away.
The families of immigrants often have a difficult time being able to receive legal status as well. Even if a member of the family may have permanent residency in the US, it does not become any more simpler for the rest of the family to receive status. According to the American Immigration Council, children of US residents would have to wait five years to be able to come to the US. For example, the children of a US resident will have to wait for many years to receive a simple visa and they have to be under the age of 21. After they reach the age of 21, their application as a minor disappears and a new application will have to start (Bier).
This law completely tears families apart. In some cases, children can wait for more than 20 years such as the children of Mexican and Filipino immigrants. Another way that children can get immigration status is by birthright citizenship. The law was inducted in the government in the early 1800s by the Civil Rights Act and the fourteenth amendment. Recently though, Trump’s decisions will cause the US born children of immigrants to not be able to acquire citizenship. According to his administration, immigrants decide to give birth to their child on US soil just so they can get their own citizenship easier, but this statement is false (Foner). It was already difficult to get citizenship as a family member in the first place but now, with new rules and laws, it will be even more difficult to get status in the US.
Many of the immigrants that come to America seek for better opportunities, but sadly, due to federal laws on visas, migrants have an extraordinarily difficult time receiving any legal status. Mainly, most of the available jobs are in the agricultural field. Employers give migrant workers certain visas that only last for a very temporary amount of time. When the visas end, the US has the right to deport the workers even if they were in the process of applying for permanent residency (Why Can’t Immigrants”). A primary workers visa is the H-1B visa. These are the temporary visas that keep people in America while they work. The amount of these visas though has greatly declined with the new administration (Sohrabji A3).
While many workers usually plan on applying for permanent residency, there are still the extreme costs that pile up. Going from immigrant status to legal status in the United States is virtually impossible, especially as a worker. Fees for a green card often run in the thousands and on top of that, the waiting line can last for years. Lawyers charge these new workers thousands of dollars just to help them get a card that will help them stay legally (Bier). The green card is the key to any immigrant who is hoping for a permanent residency, but sometimes, it is just never comes. “The freedom once you get the green card is great. The freedom they took away from you is the worst part” (Ribitzky). America is closed to almost everyone and does not want to give legal status to people who truly deserve it.
In conclusion, receiving a permanent residency in the United States is so difficult. The process takes very long and it’s painful to have families torn apart from each other. The American freedom becomes a dream, but never a reality. The government today wants nothing to do with immigrants, but these people will never stop trying to get their well deserved residency, even if it takes their whole life and energy. All they want is happiness, but currently, that seems impossible.
- Alvarez, Priscilla. “What the Waiting List for Legal Residency Actually Looks Like.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 21 Sept. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/what-the-waiting-list-for-legal-residency-actually-looks-like/540408/.
- Bier, David. “Why the Legal Immigration System Is Broken: A Short List of Problems.” Cato Institute, 10 July 2018, www.cato.org/blog/why-legal-immigration-system-broken-short-list-problems.
- Foner, Eric. “Donald Trump’s Unconstitutional Dreams.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 Oct. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/10/31/opinion/donald-trumps-birthright-citizenship.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FCitizenship%2Band%2BNaturalization&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=9&pgtype=collection.
- “Immigration 101: Why Can’t Immigrants Just ‘Get Legal’, ‘Get in Line’ and Get Their Papers?” America’s Voice, 13 Aug. 2018, americasvoice.org/blog/immigration-101-why-immigrants-cant-just-get-legal/. November, 26 2018
- Ribitzky, Romy. “Path to U.S. Citizenship Costly, Tedious.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 3 July 2018, abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1.
- SOHRABJI, SUNITA. “Trump Signs Executive Order Seeking To Revamp H-1B Visa Program.” India — West, vol. 42, no. 23, 21 Apr. 2017, p. A3. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,cpid&custid=nebstlib&db=f6h&AN=122668286&site=ehost-live.