Texas has dealt with immigrants from Mexico among other countries for decades. In fact, approximately 17% of the population is composed of immigrants who play various roles in the state's economy. One of the largest industries in Texas (construction) is heavily reliant on immigrants.

Since there are many business owners, taxpayers, workers and other important segments of people who qualify as immigrants and play a crucial role, it's important to define the main categories of immigrants in the state. It's worth noting that the types of immigrants largely apply to all states in the US.

Types of Immigrants in Texas

a. Citizens

United States citizens are either persons born in America or become naturalized citizens after spending 3 - 5 years as residents. US citizens can't be deported with the exception of a few cases i.e., if citizenship was gained fraudulently.

Immigrants who become citizens can work in any state in the US legally as well as enjoy applicable public benefits. It's also possible for immigrants who become naturalized to help their children, spouses, siblings, and parents gain legal residency as well as citizenship.

b. Conditional/Permanent Residents

Immigration Lawyer Near MeA person qualifies as a conditional resident when they get a green card before they complete 2-years of marriage. Immigrants and their spouses must jointly file to get rid of the conditional two years after getting the green card or risk deportation.

Immigrants qualify as legal permanent residents if they have a green card. Also, they need to be authorized to work as well as live in America permanently. Legal permanent residents have resident cards or green cards proving their status.

Immigrants can become permanent residents by having their family members or employers sponsor their green card applications. Asylum seekers and refugees can also gain permanent residence. Immigrants can also become permanent residents by filing applications on their own. However, this is possible under unique circumstances only i.e., when a spouse isn't able or is unwilling to file.


c. Non-Immigrant Status/Temporary Immigrant

If a person is legally working and living in the US temporarily, they are considered non-immigrant. A good example would be a student in a university in Texas or anywhere else with an F-1 visa or fiancées on K-1 visas. Businesspersons or tourists on B2 or B1 visas also have a non-immigrant status.

Non-immigrants don't plan to become residents. However, if they overstay, they violate the terms of their visa and gain an undocumented status.

d. Undocumented Immigrants

Texas has over 1.6 million undocumented/unauthorized immigrants. As the name suggests, this group of immigrants is composed of individuals in the US illegally/without permission. Individuals who gain entry to the US illegally or those who entered legally but have overstayed qualify as undocumented or unauthorized immigrants. A person who gains entry to the US without following a recognized port of entry can also qualify as undocumented.

This type of immigrants in Texas or any other state in the US can't be able to work legally. They also don't get to enjoy the benefits accorded to individuals who are legally residents or citizens of the US.

Understanding the 4 types of immigrants in Texas and every other states in the US is a crucial step to becoming a legal citizen or resident and avoiding problems like deportation and lack of access to employment and other benefits.

Does Immigration Know When You Leave?
&
Our Business