An undocumented immigrant is a person born outside of the United States but does not have the authorization necessary to be in or to stay in the U.S. under any circumstances. But unfortunately, that’s where the simple part ends. Let’s look at some frequent questions and misconceptions surrounding undocumented immigrants.
What difference Between an Undocumented Immigrant and an Illegal Alien
“Illegal alien” is not a technical phrase; thus, the answer is “yes” only in theory. It is jargon that is commonly used but is not found anywhere in the immigration rules of the United States. However, because of the derogatory connotations associated with the term, it is preferred to use less offensive terminology, such as “undocumented immigrant” or “unauthorized immigrant.”
How Many Undocumented Immigrants are in the United States?
It is estimated that the number of immigrants living in the United States without proper documentation is anywhere between 10.5 and 12 million. Given that this is a population that actively works to avoid detection, it is obvious that there is no way to ascertain the exact number of individuals involved.
Is it True That all Undocumented Immigrants Enter the United States Illegally?
A handful of them, but not all. Although it is difficult to obtain reliable data, it is abundantly obvious that a considerable percentage of undocumented immigrants initially entered the United States legitimately from a variety of nations, either as tourists or on some other type of nonimmigrant (temporary) visa. Then, after the time that their permitted stay was supposed to end, they did not leave the country as expected. Overstaying a visa carries its own consequences under U.S. immigration law.
Why Hasn’t the U.S. Deported all Undocumented Immigrants?
In part, this is due to the fact that the resources available to law enforcement in the United States are not sufficient to keep up with the numbers. Even the detention and removal of a single individual can cost several thousands of dollars.
It is also essential to have a firm grasp on the fact that there are grey areas, in which a person who would be labeled undocumented possesses something that is essentially equivalent to a right to remain in the United States. Some illegal immigrants are unaware that they may be able to stay in the United States if they have a valid claim for asylum, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or another kind of immigration relief. This is especially true for those immigrants who entered the country as children.
For instance, asylum seekers who are at risk of being persecuted by their own government but are unable to make direct contact with a refugee agency in their home country may be left with no other option but to enter the United States illegally in order to avoid being persecuted. They should be permitted to present their allegation if they are stopped at the border, and if an immigration court determines that their fear is credible, they should be allowed to meet the judge.
Or, if a person who is seeking asylum manages to get into the United States without being discovered, they have one year to put together an asylum case. A person who would want to apply for asylum but is caught and put into removal procedures is still able to make a claim for asylum at that point, and there is a good chance that they will be granted asylum even if they have no legal right to be in the United States at that time (and one year later, be eligible for a green card).
Furthermore, according to a policy that is known as “prosecutorial discretion,” certain immigrants, such as those who are students or who have close family members living in the United States, are supposed to be largely ignored by the immigration authorities. This is done so that the immigration authorities can focus their attention on immigrants who pose a risk to society in the United States in some other way. A deferred action is a form of administrative limbo that may be granted to some of these immigrants, and in some instances, they may also be eligible for a work permit. However, consulting an attorney might give you a better idea. Attorney Raju Mahajan & Associates has been trying to assist individuals or employers in various immigration processes. Our immigration law office provides numerous legal services, including online consultations, which you can access from any part of the world.