Glossary

Use this glossary to find a definition or explanation for a term related to immigration. Start by searching for the term or clicking on the letter your word begins with. You may also view all terms.

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I


Glossary

Immigration Status

The right or permission to be in the U.S. How long a person can stay and what they can do depends on the kind of status they have.

Glossary

Inadmissible

Inadmissible means you cannot enter or stay in the U.S. The list of reasons people are considered inadmissible includes:

  • a criminal record,
  • serious disease,
  • fraud, and
  • disobeying immigration rules.
Glossary

Investigator

A person whose job it is to look for more information, such as about a crime, an event, or someone’s past.

L


Glossary

Law Enforcement

The agency or officers who enforce the law and protect people from lawbreakers. In the U.S., there are many agencies and offices that are part of the law enforcement system.

Glossary

Lawful

Legal.

Glossary

Legal Permanent Resident

A legal permanent resident is someone who has a green card. They can stay and work in the U.S. as long as they want if they obey all the rules. They can also apply for U.S. citizenship when they qualify. Green card holders have almost all of the same rights as U.S. citizens.

M


Glossary

Mental Disorder

Immigrants with some mental conditions may not be allowed in the U.S. if a doctor says they are dangerous.

N


Glossary

National

People from American Samoa or Swains Island are nationals. They can get a U.S. passport, but cannot vote in U.S. elections.

Glossary

Naturalization

The process of becoming a citizen.

P


Glossary

Permanent Resident

A shorter way to say "Legal Permanent Resident" or green card holder.

Glossary

Petition

The application that a citizen or green card holder makes for a family member to get a green card.

Glossary

Physical Disorder

Immigrants with some physical conditions may not be allowed in the U.S. if a doctor says they are dangerous.

Glossary

Physical Harm

Hurting or injuring someone else's body, such as hitting, beating, or raping.

Glossary

Probation

A kind of punishment for a crime that limits a person's freedom for a specific period of time. The person must follow certain rules during that time, such as no drinking, no illegal activities, etc.

Glossary

Prosecutor

A lawyer who represents the government in a criminal case and works for a fair result. The prosecutor decides if there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. If the case goes to a judge, the prosecutor tries to prove the person is guilty.

Glossary

Psychological Abuse or Harm

Repeated bad conduct, threats, insults or other actions to hurt how another person feels about themself.

R


Glossary

Refugee

A person who has left their country and is afraid to go back. They were harmed or threatened because of who they are or what they believe (this includes their race, nationality, religion, political beliefs, or membership in a group).

Glossary

Removal

Sent out of the country by an immigration judge or officer.

See also: "Deported (Deportation)"

Glossary

Resident

Short for a permanent resident (green card holder).

S


Glossary

Security Threat

Someone the government thinks is dangerous to the public.

Glossary

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

If a state court decides that an immigrant child’s parent(s) neglected or abused the child, the child may apply for SIJS and get a green card.

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