Immigration Law

Overview

In the United States, immigration laws bear political overtones because they touch on the sensitive issues of national sovereignty and homeland defense. These laws dictate who may enter the country, as well as the length and duration of their visit. These laws also allow selected non-citizens to naturalize and become citizens of this country.

U.S. Immigration Laws

U.S. immigration laws treat persons as either U.S. citizens or aliens. The Fourteenth Amendment states that U.S. citizens include "persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to [its] jurisdiction." Therefore, all persons who are not U.S. citizens are aliens. 28 U.S. Code Section 1101.

In terms of aliens, U.S. immigration law further classifies them according to their immigration status, with each group afforded different rights and obligations, such as the right to reside in the United States, the right to sponsor relatives, and the right to work in the United States. Aliens may be lawful permanent residents (i.e., green card holders), immigrant visa holders, temporary lawful visitors or undocumented illegal aliens.

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