A-Number: Not something you can give out with a 'call me, maybe.' It's a unique identification number assigned to a noncitizen by the Department of Homeland Security. It always begins with an A, followed by eight digits.
Acquired Citizenship: If you're born in France but one of your parents is a US citizen, you're an acquired citizen. Baby, I was born this way.
Amnesty: The idea of pardoning an undocumented immigrant and creating a path to citizenship. For many in the GOP, this has become a no good, very bad word that's synonymous with 'soft on immigration.'
Asylum: When home is where the violence is. This is the thing that's granted to immigrants who come to the US fearing persecution at home because of race, religion, political beliefs, etc. They're allowed to apply for asylum and stay in 'Murica.
Anchor Babies: A baby who's born in the US to foreign, non-citizen parents. Kids born in the US are automatically US citizens. Their parents are not. This term is not-so-PC, since it implies that the parents had the baby just so he or she would gain US citizenship. And also because it compares humans to anchors. Land ho, controversy.
Beneficiary: When a foreigner gets sponsored by a relative or business in order to get a visa. Think: the legal version of 'you've got a friend in me.'
Form N-400: The name of the application for naturalization. Becoming au naturel is government-speak for becoming a US citizen. This is the form that gets it all signed, sealed, and delivered. Oh, and $725 in fees.
Green Card: The golden ticket for immigrants hoping to become citizens. You get one through your family, a job, if you're a refugee or seeking asylum, etc. After having a green card for at least five years, you can apply to officially, officially become a US citizen.
H-1B visa: A visa that lets a foreigner go to work, work, work, work, work in the US. An employer has to prove that the person is v qualified for the job in order to get H-1B status. This is a BFD for hiring in the tech industry because it brings STEM types here that can be hard to find in the US. These are temporary visas -- meaning there's no path to permanent citizenship. The program's been in the hot seat recently, since President Trump's hinted that he'd get rid of H-1B visas.
ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This agency is responsible for finding and deporting undocumented immigrants.
L-1 visa: Lets a worker at a foreign company transfer to a branch or affiliate in the US. The employee has to be kinda a big deal -- aka they have to be an executive, manager, or have a special skill set.
Latino vs. Hispanic: Latino has to do with geography, while Hispanic has to do with language. Latino means from Latin America while Hispanic means from a Spanish-speaking country. So Brazilians are Latino but not Hispanic (because they speak Portuguese).
Naturalization: The process of becoming a citizen. Also a nicer way of saying 'filling out a lot of forms, going to interviews, and playing the waiting game.'
Sanctuary cities: Cities where officials say 'nope' to handing over undocumented immigrants for deportation. Think: if an immigrant gets arrested for an unrelated offense and officials find out he or she is undocumented..the immigrant is safe. Cities include NYC, LA, and San Fran.
Temporary Protected Status: When an immigrant's home country is too unsafe to return to -- because of things like war and environmental disaster -- the feds can give them a pass to stay. Currently, countries like Syria, Yemen, Haiti, and Sudan qualify.
USCIS: The room where it happens. This is an abbreviation for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency of the Department of Homeland Security that deals with immigration requests.
Visa: A US visa is what allows foreigners to get into the US. There are lots of different types -- some temporary or nonimmigrant visas (think: H-1B and L-1) and some permanent or immigrant visas (think: CR-1, or a visa given to a spouse of a citizen)
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