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Theme II – Resources – Lesson 3

HANDOUT 1

DID YOU KNOW?

IMMIGRATION STATUS

Immigration has been very important to the United States throughout its history. There are several categories relating to immigration status:

Citizen or naturalized citizen: Under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of this country and of the state where they reside. Anyone who is not an American citizen needs a visa to live here.

Immigrant: A person who is issued an immigrant visa (called a green card) is considered a permanent resident. An immigrant can hold a job, apply to bring immediate family members to the United States, leave the United States for a time and return, and apply for citizenship after living in the United States for five years. An immigrant pays taxes and has many of the same rights and legal protections as a citizen. However, immigrants can not vote and, under certain circumstances, are subject to deportation. An immigrant visa is considered difficult to obtain. An applicant must meet certain criteria, and there are restrictions on the number of persons each year who can apply.

Nonimmigrant: A nonimmigrant visa allows a person to live in the United States for a limited period of time to work or study. People who are classified as nonimmigrants are subject to significant restrictions on their length of stay in the United States and their ability to work. They are not eligible for benefits, such as Social Security, and various types of public assistance. Persons in this group include exchange students, foreign students seeking a degree in higher education, and temporary workers in professional, technical, and nontechnical fields.

Sources: International Center of Indianapolis and Susan Snyder Salmon with the Indianapolis law firm of Rund & Wunsch.

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