Many American people do not like illegal immigrants because of the perceived injustice they do to the American system over the American people; and many illegal immigrants on the other hand fear for themselves as much as they fear for the American nation. The term ‘illegal immigrant’ has been used many times and in many concepts to the extent that it is becoming very vague in the light of bills that address the same. What is illegal immigration and how does it affect the illegal immigrant? A clear understanding of this term is essential to clarify the status and legal rights of the illegal immigrant in a country that is already divided over the challenges the immigrants have brought with them.
What is illegal immigration and how can you distinguish aspects of the term as it applies to you within the United States? According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (1952), an illegal immigrant or alien is someone who is not a citizen of the United States. What this means is that an illegal immigrant or alien is someone who finds his way illegally into the United States without formal documented authorizations as issued by government agencies to validate his presence on US soil. Such a person is considered in the eyes of the law as an alien or illegal immigrant because he is not a national or a citizen until he takes legal steps to apply for and is granted citizenship rights. Since the law makes provision that an illegal immigrant could apply for citizenship while still on US soil, the same law then goes to classify aliens into certain categories. There is the documented and non-documented alien, there is the immigrant and non-immigrant alien, and there is the resident and non-resident alien.
These classifications also come with certain rights and privileges for the illegal immigrant. While none of them is a citizen or a national of the United States, some are still free to walk about or work and make money or even take up academic programs in the universities while some will just be arrested on sight and bundled off to jail. The immigrant alien is in the US legally because he has the visas and other papers approved before coming down to the US as a student or tourist even though he is not a citizen until he applies for one. The resident alien has come legally with all due papers to settle down permanently within the US, and the non-resident immigrant will just come and go on scholarly or tourism purposes. The documented alien is also illegal even though he has work permits to work shortly and so on, while the non-documented are usually those that sneak in through the deserts and borders and so on without any papers and permits.