The Changing Face of Immigration
Things have changed a lot since English settlers arrived in New England hundreds of years ago. John Smith never had to worry about green card holder’s rights. There was no such thing as a green card. Witchcraft was a pressing issue. A group of men threw tea off a boat, and New England was no longer part of England.
Today, the United States is a country celebrating nearly two and half centuries of independence. It has a long legal process that immigrants must go through to stay in America. Boston Harbor no longer has tea brewing in it, but some say you can still see a witch hunt occurring in America. This time, the hunt targets immigration.
Recent Bans Raise Many Questions
According to NPR, the recent ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries has unsettled the nation’s green card holders. When the Trump administration put the ban into effect, border patrols denied entry into the United States to many permanent residents with green cards. These travelers originated from the affected countries in the ban. The White House eventually announced green card holders were exempt from the ban. However, many began to wonder if the green card was good enough to stay in America. Now, many are rushing to become full-fledged American citizens.
A Green Card Holder’s Rights
For the vast majority of green card holders, there is no reason to worry about being deported. As a permanent resident, a green card holder has more rights than someone simply here on a visa. The green card gives people three distinct rights as declared by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:
- Permanent residents have the right to permanently live in the United States.
- Green card holders have the right to work and seek qualifications of his or her choosing.
- All the laws in the United States will protect anyone holding a green card.
Different Statuses, Different Rights
There are several differences between a green card holder’s rights and the rights of a U.S. citizen. For instance, a green card holder’s rights do not include voting. Although the UCIS insists that green card holders “support the democratic form of government,” green card holders cannot take part in the American democratic process. Permanent residents also cannot get certain jobs due to security reasons.
Unlike citizens, the right to live in the U.S.A goes away if someone “commits any actions that would make you removable under immigration law.” Also, Green card holders also don’t have the same freedom of movement outside the country as citizens. There is a time limit on how long someone with a green card can live outside of the U.S.A. After this time limit, they lose their green card. Finally, a green card holder’s rights do not extend to receiving the same assistance or benefits a citizen gets from the government.
Where Will Immigration Policy Take Us?
American history is a history full of different immigration stories. Thanksgiving, one of the nation’s most revered holidays, celebrates the meeting of English immigrants and Native Americans. The Statue of Liberty, one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, presided over the entry of millions of immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There is no doubt about it: the United States is a nation built on immigration. Today the story follows the Trump administration and what it will do to change immigration policies.
Arrests and deportations are on the rise. Consequently, ICE has been working overtime in some places. The Guardian reports that many who are seeking green cards are being arrested and deported during their application process. Unfortunately, applying for a green card does not give you the same rights as having a green card. The world is watching, and thirty-eight percent of U.S. colleges are reporting that international applications are on the decline. No one knows yet how far “extreme vetting” will go, and no one wants to start their education only to receive a deportation notice sophomore year. One big change Trump is pushing for is a merit-based immigration system. This shift would decrease the number of unskilled workers allowed to enter the country. Every person who wants to join the American dream will have to prove they are “skilled enough” to take part.
One Thing Stays the Same
The Trump administration recently announced it will keep one major part of immigration policy. According to FOX News, Trump will continue to allow non-citizens a path to citizenship through military service. This path to citizenship also includes spouses of U.S. armed forces members. Anyone who wants to become a citizen through military service must first become a permanent resident. Of course, the restriction on traveling abroad does not apply to permanent residents in the military. If you follow this path to live in America, you could end up anywhere in the world!
Get Help with Your Permanent Residence or Citizenship
If you or someone you know needs assistance with your residence or citizenship application, or if you have any questions about these issues, contact Pozo Goldstein for a free consultation now.