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What is a Migrant?

According to the Department of Homeland Security of the United States (DHS), a migrant is “a person who leaves his/her country of origin to seek temporary or permanent residence in another country. Migration may occur for a number of reasons, including economic opportunities, family reunification, education or fleeing conflict or persecution. While “migrant” is the general term used to refer to anyone who comes from their origin country to the United States, the term “immigrant” usually refers to a migrant that has the intention of establishing permanent residence in the U.S. Some migrants may be eligible for asylum or refugee status under U.S. immigration law. 

Key Takeaways

  • “Migrant” is an umbrella term that refers to anyone who leaves his or her origin country to seek residence in another country. 
  • Migrants may come to the United States for economic opportunities, family reunification, education or fleeing conflict or persecution. 
  • Many migrants crossing U.S. borders from Central American countries are in fact asylum seekers.

Migration and Asylum

Under United States immigration law, migrants have the right to migrate to the U.S. if they have “credible fear” of persecution in their country of origin. To demonstrate credible fear, migrants must articulate a genuine and well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a certain social group, or political opinion. This fear must be objectively reasonable. In other words, a reasonable person in similar circumstances would also fear persecution.

The Biden administration has implemented new limitations on asylum seekers. This includes a regulation that allows immigration enforcement officers to refuse entry to any migrants lacking valid travel and identification papers and who traversed through another nation without seeking asylum. These individuals must either present themselves at a designated port of entry at a specified time or prove their inability to schedule an appointment. If they are unable to demonstrate “credible fear” or persecution at their initial asylum officer interview, migrants will be deported and restricted from reentering the U.S. for five years. If they wish to enter the U.S. before the five years is up, they can defend their claim in an immigration court. However, immigration courts are severely backlogged and cases can take years to resolve. Having legal representation from an immigration lawyer can help ensure the process runs efficiently and improve your odds in immigration court.

Bottom Line

As migrants seek safety, opportunity, or reunification with family, they may face legal hurdles. At Attorney At Law, we're here to help. Our team is dedicated to supporting lawful immigration to the United States, making sure your rights are upheld and your dreams come true. Reach out today to see how we can assist you with all of your immigration needs.

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