In college, I studied international studies. After graduation, along with working with immigrants I volunteer for an immigration lawyer. From those experiences, I was able to learn a lot about immigration.
The process of becoming a legal citizen takes years and thousands of dollars. To stay a legal immigrant is an expensive process. Some workplaces are not willing to sponsor non-citizens to live in the US. That is why many chose to come to the US without the proper documentation.
The “Anchor baby” arguement is invalid. Under the constitution, people born in this country are automatically US citizens. That doesn’t mean that their parents automatically become citizens also. The government has a right to deport anyone who is here illegally, including the parents of a US citizen.
Marrying an American citizen doesn’t automatically get you a green card. If a person is here illegally, the process of becoming a citizen after marrying a citizen is much more difficult than someone who came here legally. A person who has all their appropriate documents and marries a US citizen still goes through an extensive process to get a green card. They have to hire a lawyer and prove their relationship to a judge. This includes intensive questioning about the people’s sex lives and their futures. Judges also look for in-person chemistry and photographic proof that they are in a genuine relationship.
One of the fastest ways to become legal in the US is to witness a violent crime or be a victim of a violent crime in the US and cooperate with police. Even then, it’s a minimum of three year process that can be expensive.
In the final days of the Obama administration, the wet foot, dry foot policy ended. People predicted the policy would not be renewed due to increased relations between the US and Cuba. Now Cuban entrants are no longer entitled to the rights they had before. Cuban rafters and entrants entering the US through Mexico were granted automatic amnesty from the US government. Now there are no Latin American countries that the US is accepting refugees/entrants from.
Many displaced people are coming from the “northern triangle” or El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The US government doesn’t consider people from that area to be refugees, therefore they are not granted the same rights as refugees. The US government says they are fleeing from something they categorize as “economic problems”. In reality they are fleeing from violence against women, drug and gang wars, and gross state and police corruption.
A person from any country can be granted amnesty to live in the US, but they live in legal limbo. They have to have extensive proof of discrimination in their home country. They need proof that they went to the police and the police didn’t conduct investigations and take their plee seriously. Often, it is difficult to obtain this information because the police don’t want to admit misconduct.