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What Is It Like to Be Son of Illegal Parents?

What Is It Like to Be Son of Illegal Parents?

There Is No Such Thing as “Illegal Immigrant”

There Is No Such Thing as “Illegal Immigrant”

The first thought that appeared in an ordinary American’s head on this matter is likely to be “Why do they not just do it the right, legal way?” Most people honestly do not understand why they cannot just get in line with everyone else. The answer is surprisingly simple: for some illegal families, there is no “right way.” At all.

To be eligible for applying for a legal status in the United States, a person must meet one of these four qualifications: to have a “legal” family, to marry a legal alien, to be an “alien with extraordinary abilities” (yes, it is the exact official term, whatever it means), or, finally, to be a refugee fleeing a war-torn state or seeking asylum. In fact, even if you have been classified in any of these categories (lucky you!), it is far more challenging to get a citizenship than in the case of simple changing of the place of living.

First of all, it costs money. According to the Immigration Equality’s expert legal team, total fees for the application amount to $465. In reality, the figure turns out to be several times bigger. For those undocumented immigrants who live on the bottom rungs of society in the third world countries, it often appears to be a significant barrier in the way to better life.

Secondly, the process can take years. It is a long way in which 4.4 million applicants are already involved. The Immigration Policy Institute calculated that it would take nineteen years to clear the existing backlog of all these people who have demonstrated their visa eligibility but are waiting for their priority date to become current. Adult children of American citizens from Mexico have been waiting since 1994 to get to the front of the immigration line; kids of Americans from the Philippines have been waiting since 1992.

As you may see, it is not as simple as people “getting in line”—it is more about luck.

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