Immigration Nation: The American South

The United States is traditionally divided into geographic regions and the American South is one of the oldest of these regions.

Geographically, it stretches from the East Coast to Texas and Oklahoma, its northern border is the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic States; its southern border is the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Florida.

Many foreign visitors, and particularly immigrants, find the so-called Southern Accent to be one of the friendliest and pleasant sounding of American Accents. This may be partially rooted in the tradition of “Southern Hospitality”.

The South is full of such traditions that recall a simpler time, a time of long and pleasant afternoons where often the only entertainment to be had was another person’s (who that person was could easily have been anyone) company and conversation.

Because of the South’s history of being a primarily agricultural region of the country and proponent of the usage of slave labor up until the civil war in the 1860s, the region is often erroneously labeled backward or racist.

The United States has progressed a great deal in the two hundred years the country has existed, and today is mostly uniform in terms of economic and social development.

A great deal of cultural value has risen from the South during the history of the country. The majority of American music is directly descendent from distinctly southern art forms. An excellent example of this is jazz or blues eventually leading to the development of rock and roll and rhythm and blues music.

Some of the greatest writers of the United States came out of the South where they were able to parlay their sense of identity and place into fabulously engrossing tales that reflected the reality of the place they lived.

The South is also renowned for its very mild and rather warm climate. Only mountainous regions of the South ever really experience snow and the states that line the gulf experience nearly tropical conditions.

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Last Year for Green Card Lottery?

Within the past year there has been a significant amount of discussion surrounding sweeping and dramatic degrees of immigration reform in the United States.

This not only impacts residents and citizens already settled in the United States, but potential immigrants who are looking to become permanent residents in the future.

The very nature of Green Cards can be significantly different after any new legislation is passed.

There are three general objectives currently being pursued by Congress:

  1. A focus on immigrants who can add to the economy and contribute to the continued success of the United States.
    Often times this manifests itself as the term STEM, which refers to a focus on immigrants with education in one of four general fields: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Even detractors of immigration reform have a difficult time arguing against intelligent people entering the United States.
  2. There are approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and if there is to be immigration reform, it must address this issue.
    Solutions to this aspect of immigration law in the United States have ranged from all out deportation to amnesty. However, it seems most likely that undocumented immigrants will be charged a fine in exchange for a pathway to legal permanent residency.
  3. The elimination of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, otherwise known as the Green Card Lottery.
    The point of the legislation and reform of the immigration system in the United States at the moment seems to be to switch to a purely merit based immigration system. The Diversity Visa is not merit based at all and if legislation is passed in 2013 it will likely be the last year for the Green Card Lottery.

It is currently unclear whether or not this will be the last year for the Green Card Lottery. There is still a great deal of work to be applied to the legislation before it will come before the President. Though this is a time of some uncertainty it is also a period of great opportunity.

Regardless of how the legislation will pan out, one thing will be certain: there will be a Diversity Visa 2015 and the registration period will take place later in 2013. By signing up with USAGreenCardLottery.org you can register for the lottery at any time.

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Cultural Activities: State Fairs

In the northern hemisphere, June brings summertime and with those three pleasantly months the tradition of state fairs follows in many states.

Many people spend a couple of weeks attending a fair in their area for entertainment and recreation and you can too after you become settled in the United States.

State fairs originated as a way for farmers to be able to compare techniques and to show off their agricultural accomplishments during the year and therefore state fairs most often occur in agriculturally important areas. This mostly includes the Midwest and the South, but it can also stretch into other states like New York.

State fairs offer a great variety of entertainments that you can peruse after paying a certain amount as an entrance fee.

  • Exhibitions. Agriculturalists and industrialists of the state display the latest and greatest in their fields for you education and entertainment.
  • Music. Concerts of all varieties from bluegrass, to country to rock and roll are frequently performed to the delight of fair-goers.
  • Food. State fair fare is traditionally a collection of unique (but not necessarily healthy for you) foodstuffs such as deep-fried Twinkies, salt-water taffy and corndogs.
  • Carnival rides. Amusement rides can be found throughout state fairgrounds where for a few tickets you can take a thrilling ride through the summer breeze.
  • Rodeos. See the daring of modern day cowboys as they pit themselves against untamed livestock. It is a bit of the thrill from when the Midwest was considered the frontier.

State fairs truly are spectacular events and they can end up being the impetus of a fantastic and memorable experience. In many ways, these events are a microcosm of America’s historical culture.

America is about new and exciting experiences, so get out there and explore American tradition to get a grip on the character of your new home.

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Diversity Lottery Countries

The Diversity Visa Lottery Countries is a list of nations that will not be eligible for the Green Card Lottery and is annually released on May 1, 2013.

When registering for the Green Card Lottery (as the Diversity Visa Program is often called) immigrants must claim a certain country as their country of origin. People from the countries on the list will not be eligible for the lottery.

The country-of-origin requirement is one of only two qualifications that must be met in order to register. The other is an education requirement that states that applicants must either have a high school diploma or two years of experience in a profession that took two years of training.

The list varies only slightly from year to year and is based upon the immigration numbers of the previous five years. More information about acceptable countries will be released on May 1, 2013.

The countries that were designated as ineligible for DV-2014 (the Green Card Lottery whose application period occurred in 2012) by continent are:

  • Asia: Bangladesh, China (Not including offshore possessions of the People’s Republic of China), India, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.
  • Europe: the United Kingdom (Not including North Ireland).
  • North America: Canada and Mexico.
  • South America: Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica and Peru.

There are some exceptions to the country-of-origin requirement that allow immigrants to claim an eligible country. Potential immigrants can claim the country-of-origin of their spouse or one of their parents.

Below are some examples based on the DV-2014 countries:

  • Henri was born and raised in Haiti and is therefore not eligible to apply for the Green Card Lottery under Haiti. However, Henri’s mother is from France and he can apply with France being his designated country of origin.
  • Rosa is from Chile and since it is not on the list of ineligible countries she can apply for the lottery using Chile as her country of origin.
  • George is from Wales; in fact his family can trace back their roots in Wales for several generations. Because of this he cannot apply for the lottery because he is from the United Kingdom. However, his wife, Darla, is from South Africa and they can both apply for the lottery using South Africa as their country of origin.
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US Visa Versus Green Card

While one cannot pit a US Visa against a Green Card (they’re effectively just different steps in a process which ultimately terminates at citizenship) for the purpose of this blog we will examine the salient differences between a Green Card and a US non-immigrant visa.

For the sake of a visual comparison here is a compare and contrast table between the two immigration statuses. As you can see below, the Green Card is a far more stable status than just a United States Visa and is hence why it is so preferred.

 

Benefits: Green Card US Visa
Basic human rights while in the United States? Yes Yes
Temporary? No Yes
Permanent? Yes No
Employment Authorization? 1 Yes Depends
Travel throughout the US? 2 Yes Depends
Study at an American university? 3 Yes Depends
Path to citizenship? 4 Yes No
Access to American social benefits? Yes No
Can be revoked at any time? 5 Yes Yes

 

  1. Some non-immigrant visas allow for employment authorization, but they are few and are limited to a specific time limit. Green Card holders can work freely in the United States indefinitely.
  2. While non-immigrant visas do not explicitly limit a person from travelling in the United States, their visa may have been granted based on some program (such as school or work) which may hinder a person’s travelling aspirations.
  3. Foreign students must apply for a student visa to study at a university in the US. Permanent Residents, or Green Card holders, need only apply for acceptance to the learning program.
  4. Most visitors with non-immigrant visas must leave the country before they can re-enter. However, Green Card holders can apply for citizenship after about five years.
  5. Any immigration status whether a visa or a Green Card can be revoked at any time, however, it is far more unusual and difficult for the government to take away the benefits of a Green Card.
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Why is it Called a Green Card?

The Green Card is a United States immigration document that has a relatively long history. Though it hasn’t been around since Ellis Island times it is about 60 years old, older than many of the immigration agencies of the United States!

One thing that has remained invariable about the Green Card is that it has always signified that a holder has permanent residency in the United States. This means that the person with the green card can live, work, travel and study in America with most of the same rights as a citizen.

But why is it called a Green Card?

It’s called a Green Card, despite its technical name (Permanent Resident Card), because it has a slightly green hue. When it first came out into use it was a slightly brighter shade of green and the shock of color must have inspired the now famous appellation “Green Card”.

For a short period of time, near the end of the 20th century, the Permanent Resident Card was redesigned and when it was re-introduced it was no longer green, but white.

However, the government returned this immigration document back to its original and iconic color to avoid confusion. Despite the new color, people still called it the Green Card. The term “Green Card” became so pervasive that it became more of a symbolic phrase instead of an actual description of the document.

Now, Green Card is often used as a stand-in for the lengthier “Lawful Permanent Resident”. The phrase “Green Card” is simply shorthand for the process of legal immigration. A person may say “When did you get your Green Card?” and really what they are asking is “When did you immigrate to the United States?”

By “Getting your Green Card” you are “Immigrating to the United States legally.” Green Card, is simply a verbal shortcut in American English.

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Cultural Activities: Sports

Sports are very popular in the United States, much like most other countries. The primary difference is the type of sports that Americans choose to participate in.

As a permanent resident in the United States you have plenty of opportunities to participate in the enormous sporting events available all over the United States.

Here we will examine some of the more popular sports played in the United States. If you would like to find out how these games are played there’s no better learning tool than to go to see the game yourself!

Baseball

“America’s Pastime” is baseball. Invented sometime in the 19th century it has been a preferred form of summer entertainment in the United States for over 100 years!

Baseball games are available in many different levels from professional baseball players to school teams to corporate intermural games.

Football

Football, a game played with an ovoid ball and based on throwing, instead of kicking, is another incredibly popular sport in America. Another main difference between American Football and International Futbol is that Football is based on bursts of huge energy during play, whereas Futbol is focused on a constant exertion as players run back and forth across the field.

The Super Bowl, the ultimate football game of the year, which takes place near the end of winter, is a huge event and often draws over 100 million viewers on television!

Basketball

Invented as an athletic exercise, rather than a pure game, basketball has developed into a very popular sport to follow and players are often very well-known celebrities.

Better than most other American sports, basketball has received a great deal of international attention and many other countries have basketball teams and leagues.

Basketball playoffs and tournaments often take place in late winter and springtime.

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USA Green Card Lottery Results 2014

The winners for the 2014 Diversity Visa Lottery will be announced on May 1, 2013.

Applicants who wished to enter this lottery applied during October and early November of 2012. These participants should still have their confirmation numbers in order to check whether or not they have won during the selection process.

Winners of the Green Card Lottery will receive their instructions from the Kentucky Consular Center in the months following the announcement of the winners. It is incredibly important to pay close attention to the details in the application package that the KCC sends the winners because most people are denied green cards through this program because of errors in their applications.

Applicants to the Green Card Lottery program can expect to receive their green card two years from when they register as long as they win the drawing. That is why the DV number for the registration period is two years past the registration year.

Green Cards grant immigrants the right to live, work, study and travel freely throughout the United States. Permanent Residents who hold Green Cards can also retain many of the same rights that a citizen holds. However, after a period of about five years, permanent residents may apply for citizenship as well if they meet certain qualifications.

Immigrants are considered qualified to enter the Green Card Lottery if they are able to meet two requirements:

  • Immigrants must have at least a high school education or two years of experience in a job that required two years of training.
  • Applicants must also be from one of the qualifying DV program countries.

The list for qualifying countries is released annually around the time that the winners of the previous year’s registration period are announced.

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American Lottery 2015

Many people associate the term ‘lottery’ with winning money in a formal lottery game. In some places huge sums of money are given out to winners who were lucky enough to guess all of the numbers drawn from a lot.

However, there is a lottery in the United States that gives out something even more valuable than cash, something that money cannot buy.

We’re talking about the Green Card Lottery. Every year the US State Department gives out 55,000 visas to people all over the world to further diversify the US immigration system.

You have a chance to immigrate!

Generally, the US immigration system focuses on either the relationships or education experience of a person to determine their entry into the United States. People who have high levels of education can likely find jobs that will sponsor their immigration just as people who have relatives in the states can have them sponsor their entry.

What about people who don’t have either of those things? Should they be excluded from coming to the United States?

The Green Card Lottery says that they shouldn’t. With a bare minimum of education a person can apply for immigration to the United States provided they come from an acceptable country.

Immigrants who want to take advantage of this program should be particularly wary when applying for entry. Small mistakes have been known to cause the State Department to summarily throw out applications. By taking your time and double checking all of the necessary requirements you can increase your chances of winning to the best possible.

With errors, your chances will drop to zero, but if the application is perfect then you have a good chance at one of those 55,000 visas!

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