Immigrating to Kansas legally
In 2015, 7 percent of the population of Kansas was foreign-born, the Migration Policy Institute reports. Thirty-seven percent of the state’s 204, 420 foreign-born residents were naturalized citizens, and 62.1 percent are non citizens.
If you are an immigrant and plan on settling in Kansas, you need to get authorization by through a visa, asylum or another immigration status. Many immigrants enter the U.S. illegally and must live in the constant fear of being deported. Undocumented immigrants also risk long-term detention and being barred from the U.S. permanently or temporarily.
Kansas is one of the several states that give law enforcement latitude to assist with immigration investigations and check the immigration status of people they suspect of being undocumented. The state also participates in the federal program “Secure Communities.” Under that program, law enforcement officers are required to fingerprint arrestees they think might be undocumented. The fingerprints are entered into a federal database that checks on an arrestee’s immigration status. If they are undocumented, law enforcement is instructed to hold the arrestee for ICE.
Getting legal authorization to immigrate to Kansas
Nonimmigrant visas- The Migration Policy Institute reports that 181 million immigrants were issued temporary visas in 2014, the highest number of any category of visa. These visas are issued for temporary travel or work in the U.S and typically expire in months.
Immigrant visas- Immigrant visas are considered permanent visas. They are granted to individuals who plan to immigrate to the U.S. and are being sponsored by an employer, fiancé, family member or spouse. A person who is granted an immigrant visa can eventually apply for a green card.
Refugee status- The Pew Research Center reports that the U.S. granted asylum to 85,000 refugees in the fiscal year ending in September 2016. Refugees who are in danger of being harmed or face persecution in their native countries can seek shelter in the U.S.
Humanitarian parole- Sometimes natural disasters or violence make conditions in a country temporarily unlivable. The U.S. grants individuals who need relief for humanitarian reasons permission to work and live in the U.S. An immigrant who provides a public benefit can get permission to live in the U.S. for a limited time. Humanitarian parole ends when conditions in a country improve.
The USCIS website has more information about Humanitarian Parole here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/humanitarian-or-significant-public-benefit-parole-individuals-outside-united-states.
Many immigrants strive to get legal permanent resident status or a green card. Immigrants who have this status have the right to work and live in U.S. indefinitely. Green card holders can travel internationally, collect certain public benefits and sponsor a family member for a visa. Get more information about green cards by visiting: https://www.uscis.gov/greencard.
Applying for U.S. citizenship
The USCIS granted citizenship to 645, 949 immigrants in 2014. It takes time, patience and hard work to become a U.S. citizen. To become naturalized, an immigrant needs first to establish residency, submit to biometrics and pass a civics test.