The Congressional Research Service (CRS), in a May 20, 2003 report entitled "Immigration and Naturalization Fundamentals," offered the following:
"Immigrants are persons admitted as legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States. The conditions for the admission of immigrants are much more stringent than nonimmigrants, and many fewer immigrants than nonimmigrants are admitted. Once admitted, however, immigrants are subject to few restrictions; for example, they may accept and change employment, and may apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process, generally after 5 years.
Immigration admissions are subject to a complex set of numerical limits and preference categories that give priority for admission on the basis of family relationships, needed skills, and geographic diversity. These include a flexible worldwide cap of 675,000, not including refugees and asylees (discussed below), and a per-country ceiling, which changes yearly. Numbers allocated to the three preference tracks include a 226,000 minimum for family-based, 140,000 for employment-based, and 55,000 for diversity immigrants (i.e., a formula-based visa lottery aimed at countries that have low levels of immigration to the United States). The per country ceilings may be exceeded for employment-based immigrants, but the worldwide limit of 140,000 remains in effect.
In addition, the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (i.e., their spouses and unmarried minor children, and the parents of adult U.S. citizens) are admitted outside of the numerical limits of the per country ceilings and are the 'flexible' component of the worldwide cap."
Siskind Susser Bland LLC, an international immigration law firm based in Tennesee, in a section entitled "The ABC's Of Immigration - Immigration Terminology, Part I," on its website (accessed Jan. 31, 2007), offered the following definition:
"Immigrant [is] any person who is residing in the United States as a legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent resident. This is what every alien seeking entry to the United States is presumed to be unless they prove they want entry on a nonimmigrant basis."
The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in a section entitled "Immigration Terms and Definitions Involving Aliens" on its website (accessed Jan. 31, 2007), offered the following:
"Immigrant [is] an alien who has been granted the right by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reside permanently in the United States and to work without restrictions in the United States. Also known as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). All immigrants are eventually issued a 'green card' (USCIS Form I-551), which is the evidence of the alien’s LPR status. LPR’s who are awaiting the issuance of their green cards may bear an I-551 stamp in their foreign passports."