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Immigration Dictionary

  • AILF :
    The American Immigration Law Foundation
  • ASC :
    USCIS Application Support Center (ASC)
  • AAU :
    The Administrative Appeals Unit
  • AFM :
    Adjudicators Field Manual
  • APA :
    Administrative Procedures Act
  • Adjustment to Immigrant Status :
    Procedure allowing certain aliens already in the United States to apply for immigrant status. [ more ]
  • Application Support Centers (ASC :
    CIS Offices fingerprint applicants for immigration benefits. [ more ]
  • amnesty for illegal immigrants:
    In the United States, currently there is no specific provision of law that provides a blanket amnesty clause for illegal immigrants. The most recent law passed under the Clinton administration that did provide some measure of amnesty to a select group of illegal immigrants was the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE) of 2000. The LIFE Act provided a way to allow those in possession of an immigrant visa who entered the United States without inspection or in any other way violated their status to apply for an adjustment of the status of their immigrant visas to attain lawful permanent residence upon payment of a $1000 penalty. In order to have qualified under the LIFE Act, the illegal immigrant had to have been the beneficiary of a Form I-140, Form I-130, Form I-526 or Form I-360; or the beneficiary of an application for labor certification filed with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor and have been physically present in the United States during a very specific time frame mentioned in the LIFE Act. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) warns that the provisions of the LIFE Act that allow for adjustment of status under Section 245(i) do not specifically grant amnesty or provide protection against deportation. [ more ]
  • Asylum Refugee:
    While the terms asylum seeker and refugee are similar, in terms of how asylum seekers and refugees are legally different. Legally, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a refugee is a person who has fled his country of origin because of persecution or a well founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or a membership in a particular social group. An asylum seeker is essentially an individual that meets the definition of refugee but has requested asylum while in the United States or while at a U.S. port of entry., while refugees enter into an immigration procedure in order to enter the United States. Other sharp differences in requirements and process apply between those in the U.S. Asylum Program and those in the U.S. Refugee Program. For example, there is no quota on the number of asylum seekers granted asylum, while there is a fixed number of individuals granted entry as a refugee. Also, a sharp difference in eligibility and accessibility remains between asylum seekers and refugees. Refugees can be deemed ineligible based on moral character, illness and criminal history, while asylum seekers have a much lower burden of ineligibility criteria. [ more ]
  • Asylum Seeker:
    An asylum seeker is a refugee that is waiting to be recognized in a given country. As refugees have fled their home country due to reasons of political, social or religious reasons and they feel unsafe returning. An asylum seeker is referred to such only after the recognition of their protection needs is made and until the request for refuge is requested. An asylum seeker is awaiting the approval process to officially become a refugee and gain such status as each country has different rights associated with it based on the legislation of that country. Each government has various ways for deciding upon if a person will gain refugee status and as an individual waits, they will almost always stay in asylum seeker status which essentially means a holding pattern. [ more ]
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