Monday, November 30, 2009

Legal Definitions: What is an Immigrant? A refugee?

I posted the legal definitions of "immigrant" and "refugee" to the Frosina website as an Advisory several years ago in response to many inquiries from both Albanians and non-Albanians seeking a clearer understanding of those designations.

Undoubtedly, the following data needs updating so visitors to this Blog are welocme to provide it as a COMMENT.


Legal Definitions: What is an Immigrant? A refugee?

What is an immigrant?

An immigrant is a foreign-born individual who has been admitted to reside permanently in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

How Do Immigrants Get Admitted to Permanently Reside Here?

1. Through family-sponsored immigration, a U.S. citizen can sponsor her spouse, foreign-born parent (if the sponsor is over the age of 21), minor and adult children, and brothers and sisters. A lawful permanent resident can sponsor her spouse, minor children, and adult unmarried children.

2. Through employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor someone for a specific position where there is a demonstrated absence of U.S. workers. A small number of diversity visas are also awarded through a special lottery to individuals from specifically designated countries.

What is a refugee?

A person outside of the United States who seeks protection on the grounds that he or she fears persecution in his or her homeland is a refugee. To attain regfugee status, the person must prove that he or she has a "well-founded fear of persecutuion" on the basis of at least one of five specifically enumerated, and internationally reconized, grounds. Those grounds include the person's race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or ... national origin. A person who has already entered the United States, and who fears persecution if sent back to his country, may apply for asylum here. Once granted asylum, an asylum applicant must also prove that he has a "well-founded fear of persecutuion" based on the same enumerated grounds. Both refugees and asylees may apply to become LPR's after one year.

What is an Undocumented Immigrant?

An undocumented immigrant is a person who is present in the United States without the permission of the U.S. government. Undocumented immmigrants enter the U.S. either:

* Illegally, without being inspected by an immigration officer, or by using false documents; or
* Legally, with a temporary visa, and then remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the visa.

Four out of ten undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. legally.

What are Non-Immigrants?

Non-immigrants are individuals who are permitted to enter the U.S. for a period of limited duration, and are given only temporary visas. Some non-immigrant (temporary) visas are given to: students, tourists, temporary workers, business executives, and diplomats.

What is a Naturalized Citizen?

Lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through a process called naturalization. To qualify to naturalize, applicants must reside in the U.S. for 5 years (3, if married to a U.S. citizen), demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history and government, show they have paid taxes, have committed no serious crimes, be of "good moral character," and demonstrate that they understand, speak, and write English.

Prepared January 1997 by the National Immigration Forum, 220 I Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4362

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At December 16, 2009 at 8:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I haven't been able to read your blog on a regular basis, when I do-it's a joy to learn about such a wide range of topics covering artistic, cultural, and political issues. Most recently, this was brought to my attention, when I read your mouth watering Elli's veal or chicken with walnuts (Gjelle me Arra te Ellil) recipe. I can't wait to try it. What timing given the holiday season.

I'd also like to share with you and your readers that I found your piece on the Theological artist extremely informative. Upon reading it, I did further research on Voskopoja and wrote my first cousin in Korce. He told me that Voskopoja was only about thirty minutes from Korce, and I believe there's a new road built. I've been thinking of going to an Arts Festival which will be held in Korce in the spring. Perhaps this will inspire me to actually do it.

Regarding another blog you posted which clarified the need to distinguish between terms such as refugee and immigrant, etc., I experienced the same situation as an ESL or EFL teacher. This included teaching international students as well. My experience led to writing a story called, "Fallin in Love with Wisconsin." It focused on an Albanian who visited Wisconsin and noticed a bumper sticker on a car. At the time, the title, referred to our state slogan. While the piece was fictional, it served as a good tool to teach my Hmong students who were refugees. I developed the theme of the Albanian because I wanted to illustrate,while experiences with ethnic groups are different, there is also a commonality. Plus, I wanted to demonstrate contrasts and comparisons of terms and also develop literature that would build to self-esteem.

When I wrote the story for Refugee Concerns,(mid 1990s)there had been no educational materials available for both of these groups. In fact, when I started in this field, often older students were handed very juvenile materials to learn beginning English. Actually, I'm curious to know if Albanian immigrants, who've come to the U.S. have appropriate educational materials that discuss their ethnic background?

Barbara Tzetzo Gosch


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