Alien or Immigrant?

I find it very disheartening that supposedly very educated people (in both the media and public office at ALL levels) cannot bring themselves to be honest with the American public, who are we speaking about exactly when discussing the “undocumented immigrant” or the “illegal alien “.

According to the dictionary (several actually) an immigrant is someone who intends to take up permanent residence somewhere. This definition is not specific to any country, culture or region.  So according to this definition an “undocumented or illegal”  immigrant would be one and the same.  They all come here intending to stay permanently!

However there is a very different legal definition which is applied by the United States government.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS – which is a part of the IRS) offer a list of  “Immigration Terms and Definitions Involving Aliens” on their website (, which list (in this order); Alien (an individual who is NOT (emphasis added) a U. S. citizen or U. S. National.), U. S. National (An individual who owes his sole allegiance to the United States), U. S. Citizen ( we have several definitions including; 1: An individual born in the United States; 2: An individual whose parent is a U. S. citizen.*; 3: A former alien who has been naturalized as a U. S. citizen; 4: An individual born in Puerto Rico; 5: An individual born in Guam; 6: An individual born in the U. S. Virgin Islands), Compacts of Free Association (the following countries are independent republics, which were once part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific administered by the United States on behalf of the United Nations)** – Federated States of Micronesia – Republic of Marshall Islands – Republic of Palau, Immigrant (an Alien who has been granted the right  by the USCIS to reside permanently in the United States for a variety of reasons (which can be found in the USCIS documentation), Nonimmigrant (An alien who has been granted the right by the USCIS to reside temporarily (emphasis added) in the United States. (also for a variety of reasons listed in the USCIS documentation) and Illegal Alien (also known as an “Undocumented Alien”,  is an alien who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended, OR an alien who entered the United States legally but who has fallen”out of status” and is deportable.

The reason I went through the exercise above is to prove that there is no such thing as an “Undocumented Immigrant”.  A person either comes here as a “Documented Alien” (on a Visa or other approved status document, if they stay past the expiration of said document, they become illegal),  an “Illegal Alien” or under the “Compacts of Free Association (limited the three specific countries) .  So the media personalities and politicians referenced in the the first paragraph are either intentionally trying to mislead the public, by insinuating that these aliens have some legal immigration status, or they are so grossly inept that they should not hold their positions. You decide which is most accurate.

* Under the pChild Citizenship Act they give several examples of who would be considered a child of a citizen

** There is quite an explanation that goes with this, but the premise is that according to Treaty  citizens of these Republics are afforded the same rights as U. S. citizens.

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