The Process of Immigrating Legally and Becoming a Citizen (only applies to the U.S.)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by MrZAP, May 21, 2010.

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  1. MrZAP Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    Sorry for the wall of text.

    I, until a few days ago, shared the common misconception that anyone can become a citizen in America if they are a legal immigrant. My friend Amanda pointed out several facts that I had never known about, that puts the entire discussion into a new light.

    First, I reasoned, there was a surefire way one could become a legal immigrant. One could get a passport for the U.S. and come here long enough to apply for a Visa. There were several problems with my way of thinking The big one was that in the u.S., you need a Visa to get a passport to come here....interesting on its own. First idea debunked, right. Moving onwards. One applies for a Visa to the U.S. in their own country and then gets a passport to go to the u.S. When going to the U.S., one simply has to renew the Visa while they're still there periodically until they obtain Legal Residency....right? Nope, see most Visa are not renewable, and you need to apply for a new one in your own country after a relative period of time has passed. This applies to most Work and Student Visas. Right, so idea debunked on grounds that most Visas aren't renewable except under unique circumstances, and even then they aren't able to be repeatedly renewed indefinitely. Got it. "So, what then?" I asked. "How does one apply for citizenship while using a Visa?" Answer given: you can't.

    Um...what? So, anyone born on national soil (including military bases and embassies, obviously) is a citizen of the U.S., yet their parents, even they are here on Visas always risk being deported while they're here on Visas, even if the child is not. So, in theory, and probably in practice, children are separated from their parents all the time....ahh.....hm. Interesting.

    But there's more. Passports effectively work differently in the U.S. than in practically every other country. From the information I was given (and it could have been faulty or incomplete, sure, but this is the information I was given) one can stay in most countries indefinitely with a passport. A lot of countries don't seem to even use Visas at all....okay. So, the U.S. is keeping people out and other countries aren't....right...and most countries are smaller in landmass and resources. They say they do this to keep jobs for citizens (current citizens, mind you, not even always Legal Residents) and to control overpopulation in an industrialized nation. Fine. I won't argue with the first point. No way around the fact that it does work, eve nif it doesn't seem ethical to me. So that leaves me with the second point. Obviously we're a very large nation, both in terms of population and in terms of land mass. All of our major cities are pretty overcrowded and have a lot of problems, okay, that's an unavoidable conclusion. But what about rural areas? Even rural areas with lots of farmland (which is often subsidized) has some open space, right?

    ...Right? What about the concept of public property? That means everyone owns it right? Right? Nope. Because the fact that it's on U.S. soil means it isn't public property, it's just owned by the government, which is termed a public service sector....so there's no such thing as actual public property...okay. Okay, I can understand that concept, at least in theory. I mean, it IS on U.S. soil. So, how does a legal immigrant apply for citizenship....um....wait....they can't go on public property indefinitely because it's still U.S. soil....and...um....what? How do they even apply for Legal Residency? Doesn't that take a hugely long and complicated waiting process that's much longer than almost any Visa length? And if they can't apply for Legal Residency, how can they even become a citizen?

    So let's suppose some aspect of this information is wrong. Fine. Consider it a hypothetical then if it is, but from what I can tell, it isn't. At least let's talk about it.

    The conclusion I came up with was this. The only way to become a Legal Residnet or a Citizen in the u.S. is to...um...come here illegally entirely, or come legally and stay an illegal amount of time. Either way, you risk ge
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    That's a very long rant, there are good points but you need to shorten and just give the bare outline of your points. And we probably should keep all the Immigration debate to one thread, I don't see why this needed its own thread.
  3. MrZAP Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    Yeah, I thought of that, but in the end I really thought this was more about citizenship than immigration.
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    The information doesn't seem to be correct. For a start, your usage of the term passport isn't right.
    "One applies for a Visa to the U.S. in their own country and then gets a passport to go to the u.S."
    One gets a passport for any international travel, and it's basically just a form of ID that expires after a set number of years. In the US, I believe it's 10 years. It just identifies you as a citizen of a particular country. The visa is the country specific thing that allows you to enter a country. The explanation of how it works for other countries also seems inaccurate. Australia I know requires a visa for entry, and I believe there are some restrictions about going into the EU from outside the EU. It really does have a lot of variation based on where you're going and for how long. I've got a friend in the US right now hiking from the Mexican border to the Canadian border that had to go through a special process because she needed something like a 6 month visa or such that was longer than what's normally allowed and so it's a tougher process than just visiting, which isn't as big of a process.
    Some visas allow you to apply for permanent residency and others don't, so that is a factor as well, although right now the system is tilted heavily in favour of family members of those that are here, which is, imo, a bit annoying.

    And on the parents here illegally but the children born here, most countries, I believe, also have laws that state that children of citizens are automatically citizens. Largely to cover for the possibility of a couple having a child while traveling or such, and not having to suddenly go through all sorts of paperwork because of it. I think you end up with a dual-eligibility of citizenship for the child, if not dual citizenship itself.


    The system needs reform, imo, big time but the facts of it seem a bit off.
  5. Darth_Smileyface Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2004
    star 2
    Also, your information about immigration policies in other countries is considerably flawed. Having spent almost ten years living and working in Latin America I can tell you that immigration laws down there are far more stringent and aggressively enforced than those of the US. You absolutely may NOT stay for an indefinite period with only a passport, almost always need a visa to enter let alone stay for more than 30 days and cannot work until you have applied for and received a work visa/permit. Furthermore, you must always carry your documentation with you, as it is illegal to be undocumented. The police can and will ask you to provide your documents regularly.
  6. Vezner Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2001
    star 5
    So President Calderon has the nerve to lecture Arizona about enforcing immigration laws when he says stuff like this? Hypocrite. Click here to see the full interview.

    I also find it interesting that so many critics of the Arizona law haven't even read it. It's only 17 pages long. Can't he trouble himself to find 10 minutes to go through it? :mad:

    If people have read the law, saying things like it's racial profiling or against the constitution are completely based on politics and at best a show of complete ignorance. Anyone who has read the law will know that it does nothing close to racial profiling (in fact it specifically prohibits it) and the only way a police officer can ask for papers (which, BTW, a drivers license will do just fine) is if someone is already arrested for another crime. If they can provide a driver's license when being pulled over for speeding, for example, they are free and clear and considered a legal citizen. If they can't, they need to prove citizenship or be turned over to the feds. Can someone explain to me how this is a such a bad thing?
  7. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Dear Vezner,

    Reading the law is no substitute for understanding it.

    It prohibits racial profiling as the only cause. Well whats wrong with that? Well the current legal situation prevents it from being any cause except as a matter of identification of a specific suspect. The new law, in fact, opens the door to racial profiling.

    Now, the cause can be you're Hispanic and have immigrant shoes. Cite

    But we'll pretend that's not racial profiling, right. It's sartorial profiling!

    And a drivers license counts! Well, they do if the issuing authority requires evidence you're in the country legally. Unfortunately for Hispanics in New Mexico, that state isn't one of them, so their license doesn't count. I'm sure there's no travel between Arizona and New Mexico though.

    Actually, in point of fact, Utah doesn't require it either. So only half the states bordering Arizona don't require it and therefore would not count as acceptable forms of ID under the law.

    Finally, the police can ask for papers without arresting. The requirement is the same as a Terry stop, and only requires further reasonable suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. What's reasonable? Well it's not just race, they assure you.
  8. MrZAP Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    So, the moral of the story is, apparently, for me....always check the facts yourself.:p
  9. Vezner Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2001
    star 5
    What legal situation are you talking about? The law is pretty clear...

    B. FOR ANY LAWFUL STOP, DETENTION OR ARREST MADE BY A LAW
    ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A LAW
    ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN
    OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF ANY
    OTHER LAW OR ORDINANCE OF A COUNTY, CITY OR TOWN OR THIS STATE WHERE
    REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN AND IS
    UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE
    MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON,
    EXCEPT IF THE DETERMINATION MAY HINDER OR OBSTRUCT AN INVESTIGATION. ANY
    PERSON WHO IS ARRESTED SHALL HAVE THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS
    DETERMINED BEFORE THE PERSON IS RELEASED. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS
    SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES
    CODE SECTION 1373(c). A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE
    OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE MAY
    NOT CONSIDER RACE, COLOR OR NATIONAL ORIGIN IN IMPLEMENTING THE
    REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SUBSECTION EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY THE
    UNITED STATES OR ARIZONA CONSTITUTION.
    A PERSON IS PRESUMED TO NOT BE AN
    ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IF THE PERSON
    PROVIDES TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AGENCY ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
    1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE.
    2. A VALID ARIZONA NONOPERATING IDENTIFICATION LICENSE.
    3. A VALID TRIBAL ENROLLMENT CARD OR OTHER FORM OF TRIBAL
    IDENTIFICATION.
    4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED
    STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE, ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL
    GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.

    S.B. 1070
    - 2 -
    1 C. IF AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IS
    2 CONVICTED OF A VIOLATION OF STATE OR LOCAL LAW, ON DISCHARGE FROM
    3 IMPRISONMENT OR ON THE ASSESSMENT OF ANY MONETARY OBLIGATION THAT IS
    4 IMPOSED, THE UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT OR THE
    5 UNITED STATES CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION SHALL BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED.


    Obviously the drivers license is only one form of ID. If someone, for who knows what reason, doesn't choose to get one when they are a legal citizen, there are other forms of ID.
  10. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Vezner, farraday's point was this part of what constitutes legal identification:
    4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED
    STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE
    , ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL
    GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.

    My emphasis on the part where other states' identification could be held as not acceptable because, as pointed out, New Mexico doesn't require proof of legal presence.
  11. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Thank you Lowie.

    I will however have to correct myself on something else. It looks like they amended "solely" out in conference. I hadn't actually gotten back to reading the finished bill, so mea culpa.

    It is, perhaps enlightening to the thought process behind creating the bill that it started out as solely.

    Beyond that however, and since Vezner so kindly posted the text, look at the process and consider it.
    If you're stopped by the police and they have a reasonable suspicion that you're here illegally, you're considered illegal until you prove otherwise.
    To clarify the language highlighted, "A person is presumed to not be an illegal alien if the provide the following:"

    This is, of course, the exact opposite of how our legal system works. You are not proven innocent, you are found not guilty because there is not enough evidence to prove you're guilty.

    Here, a reasonable suspicion on the officers part acts as ipso facto guilt from which you must then prove your innocence.
  12. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    farraday, I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation on that language, as my take on that is that if they ask for proof of being here legally, it's a statement that if you've got a license, they can't continue because they think you lied your way through the system and obtained the license improperly.
    Which, if it was just being applied to those already arrested and during traffic stops for only the driver (when you're supposed to be carrying a driver's license with you already) I'd not have an issue with, as in the former, they need to verify who you are anyway, and in the latter, you're supposed to have ID. I'm somewhat concerned about what constitutes a lawful stop or detention in general, though. It may just me not knowing legal definitions, but they worry me as being somewhat vague to begin with. Although it's still worlds better than the "lawful contact" wording that was so vague and open-ended that there's no way any law containing that phrase could ever be productive or fair.
  13. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Well to start off with lets establish some basics. Would we all agree "stop, detention, and arrest" are in an order of significance? That is, Arrest is above detention which is above stop.

    I will presume yes.

    Now, an arrest is pretty obvious, but what's detention and what's stop?

    A rapid google search brings up this statute from Utah. I don't feel like looking into Arizona's, but I imagine it's quite similar. Unfortunately given the importance of the phrasology, a similar search for Arizona brings up roughly 5 million articles/blogs. If anyone demands Arizona specific statues they're free to find them and make note of any differences.

    Anywaysm Utah

    32A-12-221. Lawful detention.
    (1) (a) For the purpose of informing a peace officer of a suspected violation and subject to the requirements of Subsection (1)(c), a person described in Subsection (1)(b) may:
    (i) detain a person; and
    (ii) hold any form of identification presented by the person.
    (b) The following may take an action described in Subsection (1)(a):
    (i) a state store employee;
    (ii) a package agent;
    (iii) a licensee or permittee under this title;
    (iv) a beer retailer; or
    (v) an employee of a person described in Subsections (1)(b)(i) through (iv).
    (c) A person described in Subsection (1)(b) may take an action described in Subsection (1)(a) only:
    (i) if that person has reason to believe that the person against whom the action is taken is:
    (A) in a facility where liquor or beer is sold; and
    (B) in violation of Section 32A-12-209, 32A-12-210, or 32A-12-211; and
    (ii) (A) in a reasonable manner; and
    (B) for a reasonable length of time.
    (2) Unless the detention is unreasonable under all circumstances, the detention or failure to detain does not create criminal or civil liability for:
    (a) false arrest;
    (b) false imprisonment;
    (c) slander; or
    (d) unlawful detention.


    This would seem to be fairly exhaustive, so what is a stop? Well, excepting simple redundancy this would almost certainly be related to the Terry stop. Named for the '68 Supreme Court case, it involves the minimum requirement for police to demand ID.

    What's the relevance? Well in 2009 another Supreme Court case(involving Arizona no less) said that passengers of a car that was pulled over counted as a Terry stop, given certain limitations.

    To clarify, this means if they pull over the car you're in for speeding, they can demand identification of every passenger and, if they have a "reasonable suspicion" you're illegal and aren't proven otherwise, arrest you.

    But hey, since the driver should have their driver's license, I'm sure everyone else should have at least a birth certificate on them.
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    With that definition of who counts for the Terry stop, and that it applies to passengers as well just based on the driver's driving, then that'd definitely be a big issue with the law for me. A license is checked anyway for driving, so someone driving without a license is, imo, worth some further investigation. I don't like the idea that passengers will have the same scrutiny without having actually done anything. Gets far too arbitrary for my tastes.

    I'm also somewhat concerned with the Terry stops as, it seems from my reading of it here that its not limited to vehicles, and I disagree with the idea that, say, a pedestrian stopped by police should be expected to be carrying ID with them if it's only for reasonable suspicion of a stop, and not for probable cause and an arrest.

    All in all, while I support checking immigration status when particular red flags come up, even with the improvements that were made to the law before the final version I still think the bar is too low for what constitutes a situation where they can check immigration status. This shouldn't be a situation where people need ID with them anytime they're outside in case a police officer stops them.
  15. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    They are not limited to vehicles, but there has always been some friction as to the requirement of identification.

    The limits put onto it by the Arizona law may or may not end up being Constitutional, but you can clearly see the inherent limitations of them when applied to passengers.

    The problem is, of course, that many(most?) of the people who applaud this law don't care about reasonable suspicion and if someone is here illegally that is ex post facto justification for any suspicion.

    This is made further problematic in that deportations under ICE are considered civil instead of criminal, so many of the Constitutional protections simply don't apply.

    For example, Hector Veloz. Held by ICE for 9 months until a judge ruled he was a US citizen and a further 5 months while ICE appealed the ruling.

    Yes, ICE appealed the ruling he was a US citizen. But hey, as long as we deport the illegals the rest is just sausage making and who cares how it happens?
  16. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Just reading up on the Hector Veloz story, and that is utterly disgusting.

    I think the valid question with this, then, is how do you balance enforcement of immigration law while making sure it doesn't effect people that are here legally to the extent that they're detained for months or actually deported?

    One of the articles I found is here and I'm wondering what your stance would be on the proposed bills to try to fix the system so that there's ways for those in the system to get the help to prove citizenship in an easier fashion and be aware of their options.
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