Immigration and Citizenship, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Immigration and Citizenship

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Full Chapter Outline:
Speeding Things Up

Legal Classifications

History of Immigration Laws

Types of Visas

The Preference System
---Keeping Families Together

At the Border

The Green Card

Adjustment of Status

Refugees and Asylees


Undocumented Existence
---Making a Living
---False Documents

Immigration Lawyers

The Documents of American Life

Waves of Immigrants. More people immigrate to the United States than to all other countries combined. Since America is so popular, the immigration apparatus is swamped from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to the local courts. The bureaucracy is complicated. To make matters worse, the law, and the administrative regulations that implement the law, are always changing. Few people understand the law. The INS is understaffed, has underpaid employees, and has a reputation for being slow and impersonal. Given the enormous number of applications the INS has to process, and the prevalence of fraud, their lack of warmth is understandable. You'll have to learn to play by their rules. In major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, you may have to wait several hours just to get into the federal building because of security checks. Anyone visiting an INS office should go early in the morning and expect to spend the entire day.

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