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Immigration is a hot political topic in the United States today.  The ongoing debate concerns various issues, including the morality of immigration, whether persons from certain countries, political tradition, religions or backgrounds should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S., and whether persons in the United States should be deported due to criminal behavior or illegal entry.  The fact is that these issues must be analyzed and addressed in any civilized society.  U.S. immigration laws currently define answers to these and many other questions.  Today's blog post will address a few of the overall motiviations for immigration and answer some of the basic questions many have about immigration.

What is immigration?

Wikipedia defines immigration as the international movement of people into a destination country of which they are not natives and do not possess citizenship.  Common reasons for immigrating to another country include (1) escaping from religious or other persecution, (2) escaping from physical harm due to genaralized violence, gang activity, civil war or other conflict, (3) economic prosperity and (4) family reunification.

How many immigrants are there and where do they want to go?

According to Wikipedia, in 2015, the estimated number of worldwide immigrants reached 244 million.  A 2012 Gallup survey found that an additional 640 million adults would choose to immigrate elsewhere given the opportunity.   Of those 640 million, approximately 23 percent would choose to immigrate to the United States.  Other countries of choice, in order of popularity, include the United Kingdom (7 percent), Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Germany and Spain.  Based on these statistics, it is clear that many millions of people around the world would like to immigrate to the United States.  

What factors drive the political decisions concerning immigration?

Obviously, any country choosing to admit foreigners as immigrants must consider and make difficult decisions about:

1.  How many immigrants to admit.  If a country admits more immigrants than can properly assimilate into its culture, traditions and language, the country will experience  cultural transformations in its very way of life.   

2.  From what countries should immigration be allowed, and in what portions.  If a country is seeking diversity, accepting immigrants from a variety of cultures is strongly preferred.  Nationals of certain countries with a history of violence or antagonism toward its values may create safety concerns that decision-makers must strongly consider.  Proper screening of immigrants to ensure that they do not pose a security risk, without unduly profiling on the basis of race or religion is always a political controversy worthy of debate.

3.  What to do with immigrants who immigrate unlawfully.  Any country in which illegal immigrants reside must determine the consequences of such illegal immigration.  Many factors are involved in this debate, such as whether the immigrant has family ties, whether the immigrant was legally responsible for the illegal entry (many immigrate as children) and whether the immigrant has committed any crimes.

Individuals and families contemplating immigrating to the United States should strongly consider seeking the advice of a competent U.S. immigration attorney.  Christiansen Law Firm assists foreign nationals plan for and accomplish successful and legal immigration to the United States.  Careful planning can avoid potentially serious immigration consequences.  Christiansen Law Firm's attorneys will carefully consider your plans and provide legal guidance through a complicated system of immigration laws.  For more information about how Christiansen Law Firm can help you and your family with immigration to the United States, contact our offices in San Antonio or Houston.  

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