Jargon

Alien  

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

 

Asylee (Refugee)        

An alien may qualify for refugee status if the alien has a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to the home country or country of last permanent residence. The alien may stay in the U.S. as long as expulsion would put them at risk, unless he or she meets one of the grounds for loss of status. Refugee status is adjudicated while the person is outside the U.S.; asylee status is adjudicated while the person is in the U.S.                         

 

CBP – U.S. Customs and Border Protection            

An agency of the Department of Homeland Security, CBP prevents the illegal entry of people and goods while supporting travel and trade.                        

 

Conditional Permanent Resident      

Conditional permanent residents include alien spouses and their children who applied for permanent resident status based on a qualifying marriage to a LPR or a citizen.  Conditional status expires on the second anniversary of obtaining such status unless the alien and his or her spouse have jointly applied for permanent resident status prior to that time.                                

 

Crime Victim or Witness (U visas)    

The U visa is available to persons in the U.S. as undocumented aliens who meet the following requirements: 

  • has suffered severe physical or mental abuse as victim of criminal activity;
  • has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to a federal, state, or local investigation of the criminal abuse;
  • has certification from a federal, state or local judge, prosecutor, law enforcement officer, or other justice official involved in prosecuting the activity that he or she has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to a federal, state, or local investigation of the criminal abuse.

 

EOIR – Executive Office for Immigration Review  

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) conducts immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.                          

 

ICE – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement          

Investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration.

 

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)  

LPRs are also known as green card holders. LPR status allows an alien to live and work permanently in the U.S.

 

Naturalized Citizen    

Aliens who acquire citizenship through naturalization. Naturalization is the way U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).                        

 

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)   

Special immigrant juvenile status is available to an unmarried alien under age 21 who is under juvenile court jurisdiction and for whom a juvenile court has made these findings:

  • (1) the child has been declared dependent on the court or the court has placed the child in the custody of a state agency, individual, or entity appointed by a state or juvenile court;
  • (2) the child’s reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law; and 
  • (3) the child’s best interest would not be served by being returned to his/her country of origin.

 

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)   

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.                        

 

Victims of Human Trafficking (T visas)       

The T visa is available for victims of human trafficking who meet the following requirements:

  • The person is the victim of severe trafficking
  • The person is helping investigating or prosecuting traffickers

 

Violence Against Woment Act (VAWA)       

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows battered immigrants to petition for legal status in the United States without relying on abusive U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouses, parents or children to sponsor their Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) applications.

 

Legal jargon, made simple

Common terms used in immigration law are defined here.