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History of US Citizenship, Immigration and Control Act

by Suleman


It is imperative to identify what an immigrant is in the first place while seeking to outline the great debate over concerns related to the qualifications for immigrants. An immigrant is someone who has citizenship in one nation but goes to another country with the intention of gaining nationality from that specific country, according to details gathered from the US immigration website (2009). There are two major categories of immigrants, generally, and they may be known as legal or illegal immigrants. Particular consideration will be given to Hispanics immigrating to the US in this debate. Hispanics is a concept used to define, according to site description (2009), “any U.S. citizen of true-born Hispanic heritage, from any of Latin America’s Spanish-speaking areas or the following regions:” Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean Basin only.”

History has shown that immigration is inevitable in all states hence proper management of it would be beneficial to all states concerned. It should be noted that there are many factors that lead the people from different nations to immigrate to other countries and these include: labour migration, family reunification, security, natural disasters, ethnic clashes, civil wars among others. According to De Caisse (2009), Hispanics immigrate to the North mainly to seek better fortunes financially. Most of these immigrants think that there are better fortunes in North America and they believe that there are plenty of jobs which can improve their lives as well as their families. However, these people often find themselves doing labour jobs even though they would be qualified for better jobs.

History of Immigration and Control Act

Immigration has for a long time immemorial been in existence and even during the contemporary period, it is inevitable. It is against this background that at international level, there are legal structures specifically designed to cater for the needs of the immigrants. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an international body that as a consequence of several causes, has played an important role in providing assistance to the world’s ever-growing refugee plight. As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organisations, the UNHCR supports refugees with foreign security and seeks durable solutions to their plight,” official website (2009).

History of US Citizenship, Immigration and Control Act

Nationally, each country has its own legal structures that are designed to safeguard the interests of all the immigrants who would have decided to take permanent residence in other different host countries. For instance in US, The Immigration Reform and Control Act that was enacted in 1986 sought to transform the American Policy on immigration against the influx of illegal immigrants whose aim have been to look for jobs. Whilst immigration has been in existence for quite a long time in the US, the influx of illegal immigrants especially from Latin America as well as Asia prompted the US to promulgate an Act that would severely punish the employers who would be found using illegal workers. Indeed, these illegal immigrants from Latin America in particular provided a cheap source of labour and they even contributed immensely to the growth of the industry. However, the enactment of the above mentioned Act made it an offence for employers to employ illegal immigrants.


One major positive aspect of immigration is that it has promoted the movement of labour from one country to another. Globalization which has liberalised the free movement of labour as well as investment has increased the mobility of labour across borders and this has led to the rapid industrial expansion especially in power house economies like the US. Of late, Multinational corporations prefer the movement of labour as these often do not constrain budgets in terms of wages. The immigrants often provide cheap labour and this is the trend in many countries where the immigrants are seen as source of cheap labour.

On the other hand the American culture can as well benefit from the transfer of other cultural beliefs and artefacts from the immigrants. The US culture is diverse and very rich hence the movement of immigrants can contribute to culture exchange which can be beneficial when it comes to designing the norms and values of their societies which often typify their identity. The movement of people across the borders promotes the exchange of ideas among people of different cultures across the board.


The fear of crime and misunderstanding among the different stakeholders concerned is one major threat that may be seen as an impediment to the promotion of immigration among nations. There is always a general fear that the Hispanics are not trusted since they are regarded as uneducated therefore looked down upon. In most cases, they live in the slumps and the crime rate in these areas is often very high which may lead to the general fear of the immigrants of which some would not have proper identification documents which would make it difficult to bring such culprits to book.

Since the beginning of 2001, the world economy has been undergoing a recession that has seen some large companies downsize. The IMF report released in 2008 states that: “The world economy is decelerating quickly—buffeted by an extraordinary financial shock and by still-high energy and commodity prices—and many advanced economies are close to or moving into recession.” The immigrants would face the greatest risk of being retrenched as the economy goes into recession and this may lead them to embark in activities which are vice such as crime for survival. However, the impact of return of migrant labour to countries of origin as a result of economic recession has not yet been seen in most instances. It can be noted that temporary economic recession may not always cause a major disruption of the flow of immigrants and will not alter the trends in their movements in a major way.


Legal immigrants are people who have intention to settle in another country after they have first obtained proper documentation where they initially get clearance from the responsible authorities. Whether legal or illegal, an immigrant ought to show that he has no intention to return to his original country. An illegal immigrant can as well gain status to stay in the country he intents to settle by virtue of applying for asylum as a refuge in the country he is intending to live. In the aftermath of the 11 September attacks in 2001,, US has since embarked on an initiative to tighten laws pertaining to illegal immigrants.

According to a policy document entitled ‘legislative briefs 2006,’ there were about 7million undocumented aliens which means they can be regarded as illegal immigrants in the US. This led to the enactment of the Wisonisn act in 2005. Any person intending to apply for a driver’s license ought to obtain positive identification documents such as ID, photos, proof of residence and any other traceable information that can be verifiable. Under the above act, any person seeking to apply for public assistance programs ought to provide a declaration of US citizenship or satisfactory immigration status.

There are certain requirements considered in the US for someone to qualify for the green card which identifies the owner as a permanent resident who can enter or exit the US at any time. One ought to be an immediate relative of a US citizen. Those foreign born workers who would have decided to stay in the US can get proper identification card given that their parents would be immigrants but the children are citizens of US by birth.

Immigrant Visa

The US citizenship and immigration service is entitled to approve immigrant visas if they are signed by either the employer or a relative who is permanently staying in that country. Either the immigrant’s relative or employer is regarded as sponsors and this would be a formal way of authenticating the source of the immigrant’s income for survival once granted the permission to stay in US. So, basically, an immigrant visa is not applied for directly by the immigrant but one of the mentioned sponsors ought to petition the Department of State’s visa section. As a result of high demand for visas by immigrants, there are limited numbers of visas to be processed for a given period hence those which are done using the required formal procedure are given priority.

Non Immigrant Visas

People intending to visit the US on a temporary basis ought to obtain a visa that allows them to travel to the country for the mentioned period. According to information obtained online from the US immigration department, any person intending to apply for a non immigrant visa must specify clearly the purpose of the visit. He or she would be compelled to provide evidence of the source of money that can be used for sustenance during the period of stay and should provide the period the applicant would be intending to stay in the US.

The applicants should also prove that they are permanent residents of their respective countries and would be willing to go back to their respective countries upon the end of their visiting period. Upon satisfying the immigration department that the applicant would be able to meet the above mentioned requirements, an interview will be conducted to ascertain if they would be legible to be granted a non immigrant visa. In accompaniment of the above mentioned requirements, an applicant is also entitled to pay a non refundable visa application fee. The documents required include a passport from the country of origin, certified statements that show the source of money that would be used during the period of stay in the US. The passport required would need to be at least six months before the expiry date and in most cases additional photographs are required to be attached on the application form.

Visa Free Travel

 According to the US State department of immigration, there are 35 countries that are given visa waiver privileges. The nationals from the selected countries mainly from developed nations can freely travel to the US for a period of 90 days either on business or just visiting. These nationals would not be compelled to apply for visas under the bilateral agreements between the US and each individual state. These are often regarded as US’s biggest trading partners and the waiver programme is meant to promote trade among the member states involved and good relations. Unlike nationals from less developed countries, these visitors are given the privilege to travel freely as they would not be doing it out of intentions to seek employment. Usually, a thorough screening is done on visitors from less developed countries as they often misrepresent the facts whereby they will state that they just want to visit for a certain period while in actual fact they would be intending to look for employment.  

Arrival Procedures for Students or Exchange Visitors

Passport, SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019; completed Form I-94 Entry-Departure Record; and CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form required for presentation to the CBP Officer upon arrival, and the address where he or she will stay should be specifically written on form 1-94. On the other side, the Customs and Border Control Officer can have the requisite CF-6059, Customs Declaration Form and Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record at the port of entry when the tourist enters by road or some other specified seaport. All the records related to should be duly stamped and contain details regarding the ultimate destination until cleared.

Academic Students

Academic students are persons who wish to undertake full-time education at one of the following learning institutions: an existing college or university, a seminary, a conservatory, an academic high school (or an elementary school for F-3 students), as well as a programme for language preparation. Either these students are on a grant or they are sponsoring themselves. Only persons planning to do full-time studies will be given student visas and can show their willingness to fulfil the financial standards to meet the expense of their education.

Vocational Students

Vocational students are people who wish to undertake a full-time course of study at one of the following categories of DHS-approved non-academic establishments (other than language training services), according to the US State Department of Immigration, including: community college or junior college providing technical or advanced programmes and granting recognised associate degrees. The research offered at vocational training establishments are non-academic and are technical in certain situations.

Exchange Visitors

Details collected from the US State Department of Immigration indicates that exchange visitors are foreign nationals who are chosen to engage in an exchange visitor programme in the United States by a programme sponsor designated by the Department of State (DOS). This policy is intended to foster reciprocal understanding through the sharing of individuals, information, expertise, and culture between the United States and other countries. Participants will only remain in the US for a limited negotiated duration and will be free to travel to their respective countries once the course has been finished.

Advanced Preparation Prior to Entry

There is need for careful planning for both students and exchange visitors intending to go to US in order to minimise chances of being delayed or denied entry. It is really necessary to verify that the passport has been affixed with a correct visa and all the information is true and accurate. Any discrepancies would need to be rectified which will delay entry into the US. Other important information that should be checked includes verification of the exchange programme the applicant would be intending to enter into. A student travelling on a non immigrant visa is supplied with a sealed envelope containing the travelling documents attached to the passport and this should not be opened under whatever circumstance as it would render the travel documents invalid. The sealed envelop can only be opened by the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry into the US. Loss of any document may make it impossible for the applicant to enter into the country.

Other important documents that should be carried include SEVIS Form I-20AB, I-20MN, or DS-2019 according to information obtained from the US State Department of Immigration website. It is also advisable to carry information which shows evidence of financial resources as well as the evidence of the student/visitor exchange status. The name of intended school as well as responsible officer is vital to be known by the traveller as this would serve to confirm that the bearer of the travel documents is genuine. All visitors travelling by plane are given SEVIS Form I-20AB, I-20MN, or DS-2019 which should be completed and presented to the customs officials.

Secondary Inspection Requirements

In the event that the traveller has information which needs to be verified or missing documents, he or she is taken to an interview venue where verification of the documents takes place. Additional information may be asked from the traveller to rectify the missing areas on the travel documents. It is recommended that the visitor should always carry the contact information about the person as well as place the where he or she is going. Failure to comply if there are some discrepancies on the travel documents will result in refusal of entry into USA. Under certain circumstances, the visitor may be granted 30 days of temporary stay in the US while corrections are being made on the documents.

Suggested New Rules Needed- HR Initiative

Indeed, if properly implemented, immigration is beneficial to all states that that are involved. There is need for strict compliance of the immigration laws so as to minimise chances of an influx of illegal immigrants in certain countries who may end up committing crime in the event that the ends refuse to meet. There is also need for human resources development in areas of recruiting skilled workers as a way of minimising chances of wasting resources on people who may not be qualified to do certain jobs they would have applied for. In some instances, immigrants are highly skilled and there is need for various countries to create favourable immigration laws that can attract workers from other foreign countries.

Over and above, it can be noted that the history of immigrants is long and is unavoidable among nations. People are forced to move to other countries by various factors which range from social to economic. Whilst it is agreed that the movement of immigrants is unavoidable, there is need for concerned countries to put laws that make it beneficial to the countries that are involved. Following the September 11 attack in 2001, the US has since taken a step to enact the laws that seek to promote the safety of its citizens given that statistics show that there are more than seven million illegal immigrants living in that country. The discussion focused on many requirements that are expected to be met by travellers intending to go to the US for various reasons. There would also be need to put measures that ensure that there is a strict compliance of the stipulated laws so as to facilitate easier monitoring of the movement of immigrants. 

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