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Legally immigrating to U.S. remains a huge task

You may wonder why illegal immigration seems so common in Miami and other cities across the United States. The answer might be a simple one: Immigrating to the United States legally is no easy task. In fact, as a USA Today story explains, the immigration process is expensive, confusing and lengthy.

USA Today recently wrote about the challenges immigrants face when they decide to come to the United States. First, there is the limited number of family-based immigration visas available. According to the story, the United States limits these types of visas to 226,000 a year. Work-based immigration visas are capped at 140,000 each year.

These visas hardly keep up with demand. As the USA Today story reports, the state of Alabama alone had an estimated 120,000 unauthorized immigrants move to it in 2010.

Then there's the time it takes for visa applications to be approved. The story uses the example of a man from the Philippines who has a brother who already holds U.S. citizenship. If this man doesn't have any special skills or advanced degrees it could take him 23 years to have his visa approved.

Critics say that illegal immigrants are breaking the law when they try to circumvent the immigration rules that govern citizenship in the United States. And these critics are right. But by taking a closer look at the hurdles people face when trying to immigrate legally to the United States, it becomes easier to understand why so many people do break the law to get into the country.

Source: USA Today, "Immigrants find legal paths to U.S. long, difficult," Brian Lyman, Oct. 24, 2011

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