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There is an endless list of reasons why immigrants from all over the world flock to the U.S. It attracts millions of immigrants from every continent who are seeking religious freedom, economic opportunities, and better education. Immigrating to America through the proper legal channels is not easy, but the rewards are well worth the work.
In 2014 about 7.8 percent of Minnesota’s population was foreign-born. That equates to approximately 428,057 foreign-born residents of the state according to data from the Migration Policy Institute. Just over 50 percent are naturalized citizens.
It is unclear how much of Minnesota’s foreign-born population is undocumented, but nationwide it is a large problem. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are between 11 million and 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
Most immigrants enter with a visa, which we’ll cover in more detail below, but some immigrants get authorization to immigrate because they are refugees or the victims of natural disaster. Other means of authorized include:
Asylum- Asylum is granted to immigrants who are facing personal danger because their native country is devastated by war or they face persecution for their religion or lifestyle. In the 2016 fiscal year, which ended in September, the U.S. took in 85,000 refugees, according to the Pew Research Center. Visit the USCIS website to learn more about applying for refugee status.)
Humanitarian parole- This is a temporary status that is granted to immigrants who must flee their native country because of a natural disaster or violence. Humanitarian parole is only granted temporarily until conditions in an immigrant’s homeland improve.
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