Who Are Immigrants?

Immigrants are people who move from their birth country to a new country. There are four main kinds of immigrants: legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, illegal immigrants involved in crime, and refugees.

Who are Immigrants?

The main differences in these groups are why they left their countries and how they entered their new countries.  In this article, we will learn more about each of these groups.

Legal Immigrants

Legal immigrants are those people who go through the steps laid out by the government of their new country to enter and live in that country.

Each country has its own set of rules that people must follow to become permanent residents or citizens.

Permanent Resident Card - Who are Immigrants?

When a person decides to move to a different country legally, they find out what those rules are and then complete each step in order to change countries.

Someone planning to move to a new country legally can have a variety of reasons for leaving their home country.

  • Lack of jobs or low wages: Some people choose to leave their country in the hopes of finding a better job in a new location.  Depending on their skills or education levels, there may be too few jobs in one area, while another area may be looking for people to do those jobs. It is also possible that one country may pay less for the same job in another country, causing people to move to the country that pays more.

Immigrant Family

  • War or civil unrest: In some countries, people are fighting and it is becoming impossible to live in peace. Families may choose to move to a new country to get away from the fighting.
  • Political Leaders: When new leaders come into office or gain control over a country, people who do not agree with their leadership may choose to move to another country.
  • Family: Some families move to another country to follow other family members who moved before them.

Immigrants Visiting

  • Pleasure: Some families move to another country simply because they want a change. They may leave a busy city in one country and move to a quiet beach area in another, or they may leave a quiet, small village in one country to move to a busy city in the other.

When someone has any of the above issues and decides to leave their country legally, they will choose a new country, research the steps required to move, and begin the process.

Canada Visa

These steps may include applying for visas or work permits, having their family’s name placed on a list of people waiting to enter the new country, or applying for green cards for themselves and their family. Following each of these steps allows them to move legally and enjoy the same rights as anyone else in the country. They do not have to fear being told to leave the new country or “getting in trouble” for being there.

Immigration Letter


Illegal Immigrants

Who are Immigrants?

The difference between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants is that illegal immigrants do not follow the proper steps to enter their new country. Instead of applying for the required paperwork and waiting for approval, they sneak into the new country and live there without permission.

Although the reasons why a person may choose to leave are similar to those of legal immigrants, illegal immigrants have a variety of reasons why they don’t follow the rules like legal immigrants:

  • Lack of jobs or low wages: Someone leaving illegally may not have the money available to apply for green cards, visas, or other appropriate paperwork to complete the moving process legally. They may choose to leave secretly and sneak into the new country to find a job in the hope of earning money to send back to their families, and to eventually get the appropriate paperwork to become a legal immigrant.

Immigrants on Beach

  • Political Leaders: A person may be leaving their country because the political leaders are making it difficult to work and earn a fair income, causing them to not be able to feed their families.
  • Family: There are times when family members are already in the new country, and then “sneak” other members into that country instead of following the steps for getting family-based green cards or going through proper immigration applications.

Immigrant Shirt

Illegal Immigrants Involved in Crime

Illegal immigrants involved in crime leave their home country because they have committed crimes and are attempting to get into a new country before they are punished.

Immigrant Involved in Crime

Those leaving their country in order to not get caught are definitely not going to take the time to go through the legal steps to move. If they applied to leave, the government would know they were leaving and stop them. They also don’t take the time to wait for the paperwork to process, because they are usually trying to run away quickly.

If someone who has committed a crime is able to escape to a new country, he could still be punished for the crime. Many countries have extradition treaties with one another, meaning they agree to arrest the criminal and send him back to his home country (or the country where he committed the crime).

Immigration Law

Another aspect of illegal immigrants and crime is those who become involved in crime in their new country. Currently in the United States, the public is concerned with the number of illegal immigrants living here and whether or not they are involved in crimes here. With charges from robberies to drugs, assault to homicide, there are warrants out for illegal immigrants in most states.

Newspaper on Immigration

Not all illegal immigrants are criminals. Many just want a better life for their families. Those who are involved in crime make life more difficult for those who are not involved because their communities create negative stereotypes assuming ALL immigrants are criminals. They are not welcomed into the community, not trusted at their job sites, and treated unfairly because of these stereotypes.

Predjudice against Immigrant


Who are Immigrants? says, “According to the United Nations, a refugee is a person who flees their home country due to a ‘well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.’”


Someone who is being persecuted may be hurt physically, treated unfairly at work or in their community, or even not be allowed to shop and buy the things their family needs to survive. Refugees typically leave quickly and go to the nearest safe place, which is usually a neighboring country.

Welcoming New Immigrants

In most cases, refugees leave their homes with nothing other than the clothes they are wearing. They usually leave quickly and do not know what their future will be like. They don’t have a great deal of time to plan their move and cannot go through the appropriate steps like a legal immigrant.

Refugees rely on the people of their new country to be welcoming and compassionate, assisting them in their new transition. Sometimes, when the war is over or the political unrest calms down, refugees are able to return home, but more often this is not the case.

Refugees in Life Boat

As you can see, people leave their home country for a variety of reasons and in many different ways. Some take their time and plan their move, while others have to move quickly out of fear of danger or persecution. Some can afford the fees related to the paperwork needed to move legally, while others cannot even afford food for their families and have to choose to “sneak” into a new country in the hope of a better life. Some are running from their own crimes, while others may be running from the wars around them.

Refugees in Camps

What all of these people have in common is the fact that they are all leaving their home country and everything they know to go somewhere new and foreign to them, usually in the hope of a better life for themselves and their families.

Real-Life Access Denied

Get more "Real-Life" articles!

An Attitude Of Gratitude for kids Smaller

Sign up for my newsletter and you'll access even more "Real-Life" resources.


Sign up Now

Click create an account in the login module above to sign-up. You'll also get our free welcome package. Once registered, come back to this page and you'll magically see the free stuff appear right here. Already a member...just login above.