PDF _ 98-918 - Immigration Fundamentals
9-Feb-1999; Joyce Vialet

Abstract: (Formerly 95-56) Immigration to the United States is regulated by Federal law. The basic U.S. law, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), was enacted in 1952 and significantly amended since, most recently by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The INA defines an alien as ¨any person not a citizen or national of the United States,¨ and sets forth the conditions under which aliens may enter the United States. The term alien is synonymous with noncitizen. It includes aliens who are here legally, as well as aliens who are here illegally, in violation of the INA. The two basic types of legal aliens are immigrants and nonimmigrants. Immigrants are persons admitted as permanent residents of the United States. Nonimmigrants are admitted temporarily as visitors for a specific purpose -- for example, as tourists, foreign students, diplomats, temporary agricultural workers, exchange visitors, or intracompany business personnel. They are required to leave the country at the end of the time allotted them for this purpose. The conditions for the admission of immigrants are much more stringent, and fewer immigrants than nonimmigrants are admitted. Once admitted, immigrants are subject to few restrictions. They may accept and change employment, and may apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process, generally after 5 years. [read report]

Topics: Population

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