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President Trump Does Not Understand the American Immigration System: Debunking Three Common Myths

On October 25th, 2018, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet that once again demonstrated his lack of understanding of United States immigration law and how our immigration system functions. The president stated that members of the so-called ‘caravan’ of migrants coming through Central America are trying to enter the U.S. “illegally” and that they should “go back” to their country of origin and “apply for citizenship”.

The entire premise of this tweet is flawed for several different reasons. President’s Trump tweet is an especially notable example of how much misinformation there is about immigration because the errors that he makes are both pernicious and common. Here, our Los Angeles, CA immigration lawyer dispels three of the most destructive myths about the United States immigration system.  

Three Myths About Immigration Law: Debunked

  • You Cannot Just ‘Apply’ for United States Citizenship

It is not easy to get U.S. citizenship. The implication in President Trump’s tweet that a migrant could simply return to an American consulate in their country of origin and fill out an application for U.S. citizenship is absurdly false. The system is far more complicated than that. Before you can apply to become an American citizen, you need to obtain a valid green card and to meet all of the strict eligibility requirements. For many people around the world, there is no viable path to an American green card — let alone a path to citizenship.

  • Most People Have Little Opportunity to Immigrate to the United States

There are few paths into the United States. The overwhelming majority of immigrants obtain their green cards through a close family member or through an employment opportunity. For people who have neither close relatives who are already in the United States or a job offer, the path to permanent lawful status is extremely narrow. For those who are in desperate, dangerous situations, getting asylum may be the safest option.

  • It is Legal to Seek Asylum at the United States Border

Perhaps the most pervasive and dangerous myth of all is that migrants who show up at the United States border are attempting to enter the United States illegally. This is false. While President Trump and other anti-immigration politicians frequently say or imply that these migrants are doing something wrong — it is simply not true.

Everyone in the world has the legal right to apply for asylum in the United States. Asylum is legal immigration. Arriving at the United States border and asking for asylum in the country is how the process works. It is what you are supposed to do under the law. Further, many of the migrants who arrive at the border have valid reasons to enter the United States. They deserve to have their asylum case reviewed in a fair and unbiased manner. This issue should not be demonized.

Contact Our Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we are committed advocates for immigrants and their families. If you need legal guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Los Angeles law office today at (213) 262-2000 for a fully confidential immigration consultation.