Why Don’t They Just Get in Line?

Immigration Policy Center
Date of Publication: 
March, 2013
Source Organization: 
American Immigration Council

This fact check by the Immigration Policy Center, "Why Don't They Just Get in Line?" dispells the myth that the American citizenship process straightforward and, therefore, that undocumented immigrants should "go to the back of the line" in applying for residency or citizenship. Subtitled "The Real Story of Getting a 'Green Card' and Coming to the United States Legally," the paper outlines the outdated, convuluted, restrictive and unrealistic aspects of a system that dissuades or even precludes legal entry to and residence in the United States by immigrants desperate for a better life.  

These aspects include the notion of a "line" for green cards, that only certain "categories" of people are actually permitted legal entry, that employment-based green cards do not measure up to employment needs and that family-based immigration is unreasonably capped. The consequent backlog, imbalances and biases make for a system in dire need for overhaul. As the authors note, "The legal immigration system should provide positive incentives for aspiring immigrants to follow the rules. A system that does not provide realistic options for legal immigration is unsustainable over time."  

Click here for a web version of the fact check or a downloadable PDF.



Immigration Policy Center. (2013). "Why Don't They Just Get in Line." Washington, D.C.: Immigration Policy Center. Retrieved from https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/why-don%E2%80%99t-they-just-get-line