Whether you’re an American, an immigrant, or just curious, you should know that there are several different ways to get immigration help. You can apply for Temporary protected status (TPS), seek asylum, or even try to get legalized.
Having a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country is a prerequisite for obtaining asylum in the U.S. Aliens who can establish such a fear may be granted asylum, allowing them to stay in the United States and pursue protection from removal.
The United States is obligated to recognize valid asylum claims under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol. A refugee is defined as “any person who is outside his or her country of nationality and who has been persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.”
In the U.S., an applicant may apply for asylum by filing a claim with an asylum officer. During an interview, the officer will decide whether the applicant has a reasonable fear of persecution. A negative determination can be overturned by an immigration judge.
Asylum allows immigrants to live and work in the United States. They may also use immigration benefits to settle in the U.S.
Temporary protected status (TPS)
Approximately 320,000 individuals in the United States are currently protected by Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These migrants live in every state, including the District of Columbia. They contribute a total of $2.3 billion in federal taxes each year.
TPS protects immigrants from dangerous conditions in their home countries. These migrants have fled from deadly civil wars, violent government forces, and natural disasters.
In the United States, the majority of TPS beneficiaries are employed. They contribute to the economy by generating $10.1 billion in spending power. They also contribute to federal and state tax revenues. Some TPS holders are self-employed and create jobs for others. They also contribute to Social Security and Medicare funding.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has authority to designate countries for TPS. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS if the Secretary believes the country is not adequately able to absorb returning nationals. The Secretary must consult with other government agencies before designating a country. These consultations usually involve the Department of State and the Department of Justice.
Scams on the vulnerable
Several immigration scams are designed to take advantage of vulnerable individuals. These schemes involve fraudulent documents such as social security cards and driver’s licenses, and a variety of methods to trick immigrants into providing their personal information.
Whether you are an immigrant or simply someone who lives in a city that has a high concentration of immigrants, it’s important to be aware of these schemes. They can be extremely damaging and costly. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these scams.
The first is to look for credible immigration services. This may be difficult in communities with a high immigrant population. In these communities, there are fewer legitimate organizations that offer immigration help.
Second, be aware that scammers sometimes masquerade as legitimate government agencies. Scammers may pretend to be immigration or customs agents, or they may be scam artists who are trying to get their hands on your personal information.
Third, if you are receiving an email or phone call that sounds like it is coming from a government agency, do not respond. The sender may be an identity thief.
Legalizing unauthorized immigrants
Approximately 10.5 million migrants lack legal status in the United States. This is one-quarter of the foreign-born population. The unauthorized immigrant population has grown in the past three decades. This is due to better economic opportunities in the United States.
Immigrants have made innumerable contributions to American society. Thousands of immigrants are in the workforce as low-skilled workers and contribute to our social infrastructure. But the current law hinders them from full economic participation. The law also denies them foundational social protections. Among other things, it requires unauthorized immigrants to wait five years to apply for Medicaid and SNAP benefits.
A broad-based legalization program would benefit immigrants and the U.S. economy. There are options for legalization from executive action to a pathway to citizenship.
Legalizing unauthorized immigrants could increase productivity and help the economy grow. It would also create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. And it would increase wages for all workers. This would increase gross tax revenues and help pay for government services.
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