IMMIGRATION - IN A NUTSHELL
The US immigration system has a reputation for being notoriously complex. In many ways, it is a reputation that is well deserved. Many other countries in the world have similar regulations, but few have the immense body of law and regulation that is encountered in the American system. As lawyers we often have to explain some of these complex legal concepts, many of which are hard to understand.
One way of understanding the system is to think of the United States as a major league sports stadium. If you are a citizen, you are part owner of the team. If you have a green card, you've got box seats. If you have some other type of status, you're there just for a few games, or maybe just a single game. At each entrance to the stadium are the ticket collectors who check to see if people coming in have their tickets. Inside the stadium are security officers who will forcibly remove those who are in the wrong seats, failed to abide by stadium regulations, or commit a crime. If you want to get in, you have to have a ticket, or at least a hand stamp, and abide by the rules and regulations or risk being removed. And you can always visit the ticket office, pay fees and if you qualify, you may be able to upgrade your seats!
Sticking with this analogy a little further:
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