Making Buffalo Home
Making Buffalo Home | Key Immigration Terms

ALIEN

Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

ASYLEE

An alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. For persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the country in which the alien last habitually resided. Asylees are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States. These immigrants are limited to 10,000 adjustments per fiscal year.

DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program was announced on June 15, 2012 by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. The program allows certain young individuals who came to the U.S. as children, without documentation or who have overstayed their valid documentation, an opportunity to request work authorization and to defer their removal from the country for a period of two years. Individuals who achieved DACA status could renew their DACA status in two-year increments. Obtaining DACA status, by itself though, does not provide individuals with lawful status in the U.S.

DREAMER

Individuals who would have qualified under the DREAM Act are often referred to as “DREAMers.” The term has been used to define individuals in the U.S. who were brought to the country at an early age without documentation but have assimilated to U.S. culture and have been educated by U.S. school systems.

FAMILY-BASED

One of the six legal immigrant categories, family-based immigrants are 1) married or unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens, 2) spouses and unmarried children of legal immigrants, or 3) siblings of U.S. citizens.

ILLEGAL ALIEN

A foreigner who has either entered a country illegally (e.g. without inspection or proper documents) or who has violated the terms of legal admission to the country (e.g. by overstaying the duration of a tourist or student visa).

IMMIGRANT

AKA - Permanent Resident Alien - An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.

LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT (LPR)

Any person who is not a United States citizen or national, but who is permanently residing in the U.S. legally, as a lawfully recorded permanent immigrant. Also referred to as an immigrant, permanent resident, permanent resident alien, resident alien permit holder, and green card holder.

LOTTERY ADMISSIONS

One of the six legal immigrant categories, lottery admissions are immigrants from countries considered underrepresented in the flow of immigrants to the U.S. The program distributes 55,000 visas each year by lottery. This program is also known as the diversity visa program.

PERMANENT RESIDENT

Any person who is not a United States citizen or national, but who is permanently residing in the U.S. legally, as a lawfully recorded permanent immigrant. Also referred to as a lawful permanent resident, immigrant, permanent resident alien, resident alien permit holder, and green card holder.

SAFE HAVEN

Temporary refuge given to migrants who have left their countries of origin because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. This refuge is extended until the migrant can return to his or her country safely or, if necessary, until he or she can find a permanent refuge. In U.S. immigration law, this is termed Temporary Protected Status.

SPONSOR

A person who brings an immigrant to the United States by petitioning for him or her. Also, a person who completes Form I-864, or the Affidavit of Support.

REFUGEE

Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.

TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS)

The legislative basis for granting safe haven in the United States. The Immigration Act of 1990 allows the Attorney General to designate nationals of a particular country as eligible for TPS, if conditions in that country are found to be a danger to personal safety. TPS is granted for six to 18 months initially and may be extended, depending on the situation. Aliens in TPS status receive work permits and are immune from removal proceedings, regardless of whether they legally entered the country.


Making Buffalo Home is a two-year, in-depth WNED | WBFO engagement initiative to inform and raise awareness of immigration for our entire community. The project aims to help the region develop a better understanding of the shared opportunities and challenges we face together as long-time residents and new immigrants and refugees.

Making Buffalo Home is funded by Rich Products Corporation and Rich Family Foundation.