Kids: Knowledge is Power Series: Should You Be Afraid Of Immigrants, Part 2 Illegal Immigration
There is a tremendous amount of discussion going on today about illegal immigration, and it is easy to get confused and even worried. However, knowledge is power, and understanding the simple facts can dispel any fears of immigration--legal or illegal.
Simply put, illegal immigration occurs when someone violates a country's immigration laws, or enters another country without permission.
Every nation in the world has rules that define how people from other countries can enter their country. If you travel to a foreign country for vacation or to visit, you need a passport. A passport is a government document that certifies who you are and which country you are a citizen from. If you are planning on staying in the foreign country for a specific time period, you may need a Visa. A Visa is another government document from the country you are visiting that says you are allowed to enter, leave, or stay.
Illegal immigration is when people plan on moving to another country, but do not have a passport or visa that allows them to do so, or that they have not applied to that country to become a citizen. This means they are an "undocumented" citizen.
A citizen, remember, is a person who is recognized by a nation as one of their people. Citizens can be native or natural. If you are born in that country, you are a native. If you go through the citizen application process that the country you want to live in creates, and pledge your allegiance to that country, you are a naturalized citizen. More than 2,000 immigrants become naturalized U.S. citizens each and every day.
As you know, breaking the law anywhere in the world can lead to imprisonment and/or fines. It is the same with illegal immigration. People who enter a country illegally can be jailed and then sent back to their home country. So why would anyone risk going to jail to cross a nation's borders without permission? Next week we will take a look at why people decide the risk is worth it.