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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Easier Said Than Done

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The long immigration process that can take decades, creating backlog (Photo Credits: iStock)

The United States has seen rising levels of global migration that immigration agencies have been overwhelmed by, leading to the immense accumulation of individuals attempting to enter the country legally.

There are around nine million individuals who are waiting to receive green cards; wait times have gone from months to multiple decades for many immigrants. The percentage of those who experienced a wait time of over ten years was three percent in 1991, but by 2018, increased to 27 percent of applicants. 

The last time that the number of visas granted hasn’t seen a change since 1990, the quota that was set for the country’s specific population and economic needs at that time.

Several factors are responsible for the additional number of people who are trying to gain citizenship in the United States. Political turmoil and economic issues have troubled Central America, Africa, and the Middle East, which has resulted in people involuntary fleeing to this country. There are over one million cases on backlog as of now.

There are limited routes that one can take to gain temporary/permanent citizenship, those include family reunification, employment, and humanitarian protection.
Without refugee or asylum status the majority of undocumented immigrants will not have the opportunity to gain legal status no matter the time spent in the U.S.

Those who once entered the country lacking legal admission or inspection are normally allowed green cards while being inside the country, despite there being a visa available. What might strike as the easy solution has its drawbacks as leaving the country has possible negative consequences. 

Individuals out of status for over 180 days but less than a year cannot be re-admitted into the U.S. for three years and ten years if out of status for more than one year.

To become a legal citizen there is a high risk of being separated from family for 10 years waiting for an available visa.

There is a higher limitation of green cards for workers who do not have a college degree, the number has shrunk from 10,000 to 5,000 in two decades. 

The quota for unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2016 was 11.3 million, most lacking a college degree or a possible sponsor, leaving them with one route left, an employer sponsorship. Lesser-educated workers are bound by Congress and more subject to illegal immigration. 

There is no permanent residence category for immigrants attempting to start a business, meaning entrepreneurs with no family member or employer with citizenship petitioning for them have virtually no possibility of permanent citizenship. Continuous applications for renewals must be made by entrepreneurs, and not every submission is successful if the administration does not believe the value of their economic contributions is enough to gain a renewal. 

Humanitarian protection is not easily accessible for the bulk of people who are fleeing their country. There is a set limit for the number of refugees on humanitarian grounds. The regulations that must be met to be admitted as a refugee are listed by the American Immigration Council, “well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, or national origin.”

Immigrants are not viewed as refugees if the poverty in their home country is the reason for migration, filing as an asylee is difficult because the file must be done a year before entering the country. 

The qualifications of an undocumented immigrant do not equate to the elongated wait time most face because of the extensive backlog of applications 

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