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T E R M S
A
Affidavit
Alien
Ambassador
Amicus Curiae
Amnesty
Asylum
Attorney
Attrition
Aztlán

B
Bracero

C
Congressional Act
Consul
Consulate
Counterfeit
Coyote

D
Deportation
Deportation Raid
Deportee
Detainee
Diversity Visa Lottery

E
Embassy
Emigration
Enforcement
Ethnophobia

F
Foreigner
Fraud

G
Green Card

H
Habeas Corpus

I
Illegal
Immigrant
Immigration Quota
Inadmissible
ITIN

J

K

L

M
Minor
Minutemen
Misdemeanor

N
Nationalism
Naturalization

O

P
Passport
Permanent Legal Residents
Port of Entry

Q

R
Refugee

S

T
Tourist

U
U.S. Citizen
U.S. National

V
Vigilante
Visa

W
Wet Back

X
Xenophobia

Y

Z


DEFINITION
Affidavit
A sworn promise or a statement of fact signed in front of a formal witness such as a notary. All adjustment of status applicants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support executed by their petitioning family member.

Alien
An individual who is not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national.

Ambassador
A diplomatic official posted in a foreign sovereign government, or international organization, to serve as the ranking government representative of his or her own country.
Amicus Curiae
A legal Latin phrase which means "friend of the court." It refers to someone not involved in the case who cooperates to assist the court in deciding a matter.

Amnesty
General pardon granted by the authorities to a group of individuals who did not follow a certain law.

Asylum
A form of protection that allows foreigners to remain in the United States provided that they meet the definition of a refugee.

Attorney
An agent permitted to represent a person, and who has been qualified by a state or federal court to provide legal services, including appearing in court.

Attrition
A wearing down to weaken or destroy. In the immigration debate it means a decrease in the number of undocumented aliens as a result of discouragement, resignation, retirement, or natural death.

Aztlán
Mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples. The exact physical location of Aztlan is unknown, although it was reportedly located on the coast of northwestern Mexico. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan is often appropriated as the name for that portion of Mexico that was taken over by the United States after the Mexican-American War of 1846, on the belief that this greater area represents the point of parting of the Aztec migrations.

Bracero
A Mexican manual laborer who worked in the United States mostly on farms and railroads in order to alleviate labor market shortages during World War II.

Congressional Act
A formal, written law of a country or state, enacted by its congressional authority. In the United States it must have more than 50% of the present legislative body support, and must be legally empowered by the Constitution.

Consul
A diplomat appointed by a government to safeguard its commercial interests and assist its citizens in foreign lands.

Consulate
The branch of the Embassy that works with co-nationals and foreigners to obtain their visas and other services.

Counterfeit
A non-genuine copy or imitation of something superior (ie: legal document) with the intent to deceive.

Coyote
A smuggler who escorts people unlawfully entering the United States across the US/Mexican border.

Deportation
Formal removal of immigrants in violation of immigration laws. Deportation in the United States is ordered by an immigration judge.

Deportation Raid
A coordinated and unannounced search and detention of deportable immigrants.

Deportee
An immigrant in deportation proceedings.

Detainee
A term used in immigration law to refer to non-criminal inadmissible or deportable immigrants held in custody.

Diversity Visa Lottery
An annually conducted permanent residency lottery that grants "green cards" worldwide without regard to immigration quotas, family sponsorship or professional qualifications. As of 2007, the U.S. State Department granted 50,000 visas through its Diversity Visa Program.

Embassy
A collective diplomatic mission headed by an ambassador and his/her entourage in the capital of a foreign country. In times of peace the location of residence is usually granted sovereign rights and diplomatic immunity by the host country.

Emigration
Migration out of a country in order to settle in another.

Enforcement
To execute acts and proceedings dictated by law.

Ethnophobia
Fear of any race or ethnicity.

Foreigner
An individual who comes from another country.

Fraud
Conduct having an intention to deceive.

Green Card
An identification card with photo, fingerprint, signature and personal data issued by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services for legal permanent resident immigrants. The card used to be green. As of Nov. 7, 2007 the card is white with green lettering on the back.

Habeas Corpus
A legal act (writ) that commands the detainment official to produce the body of the prisoner before a court or a judge. It is often used as a legal strategy to gain release from unlawful or inhumane detention.

Illegal
Against or not authorized by the law. Also called illicit or unlawful.

Immigrant
An individual who seeks residence in another country.

Immigration Quota
A quota system was created to limit the number of non-citizens who become legal permanent residents every year. There are three broad categories: immediate relatives, family-based immigrants, and employment-based immigrants. There are special quotas for the Diversity Visa Lottery, asylum quotas, and quotas for legal permanent residence through cancellation of removal.

Inadmissible
An immigrant seeking admission at a port of entry who does not meet the criteria in the Immigration and Nationality Act for admission. The immigrant may be placed in removal proceedings or, under certain circumstances, allowed to withdraw his or her application for admission.

ITIN - Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
A tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service to persons who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status.

Minor
A person in the U.S. under 18 years of age.

Minutemen
Civilian advocacy groups that surveil the borders to deter illegal crossings.

Misdemeanor
A type of offense for which an individual may be imposed a fine and/or sentenced to more than 15 days but not more than one year in jail.

Nationalism
The idea that people are bound by territorial, linguistic, cultural, racial, and ethnic identity. Nationalism developed in the 19th century as a consequence of the French and American revolutions' principle of sovereign republic.

Naturalization
The act of granting citizenship to foreigners.

Passport
A document issued by a government that identifies the bearer as a national in good standing and requests that the individual be allowed to enter other countries.

Permanent Legal Resident
Foreigners who have been granted the right to reside permanently in the United States. Referred to as "immigrants," they are also known as "permanent resident aliens" and "green card holders."

Port of entry
A maritime port, airport, or border check point where aliens and/or foreign goods are admitted to the United States.

Refugee
An individual unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of origin due to fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Tourist
An individual who travels for recreational or leisure purposes.

U.S. Citizen
A person born in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands; or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen; or a minor whose parent is a natural born or naturalized U.S. citizen.

U.S. National
All natural and naturalized U.S. citizens including citizens of certain U.S. possessions such as American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands

Vigilante
An individual who takes into his/her own hands the enforcement of law including codes of morality. It means "private security guard" in Spanish.

Visa
A stamp or a document attached to the passport granted by an Embassy or Consulate abroad. It allows the traveler to request entry to the foreign country within the time period specified on the visa.

Wet Back
Derogatory term used to identify new arrivals in the country illegally who supposedly swam across the Rio Grande river to enter the U.S. from Mexico.

Xenophobia
Fear of the foreign, foreigners or strangers.