How we got here…??

Written by on September 28, 2017

How we got here…??

Written by Mayra Aguirre, LCSW

As mentioned in prior blogs, immigrating to a new country is a personal decision. Sometimes it takes months and years of planning, for some, it’s an overnight decision. Whatever the circumstances might be every story is different, the how and the why for immigrants is often a very emotional subject. We all know that the politics regarding immigration has been the main topic for quite some time now. How can millions of immigrants enter the USA? Well, in this short blog I will discuss the main routes immigrants come and stay In USA.


  • Stay past their Visa allows: Not all immigrants cross the border, some just buy a one-way plane ticket. There are many types of visas that an individual can apply for the most common visas are for work, business, tourism, and student. All these have specific requirements that need to be present when called for an interview.
  • Work Visa: A USA company petitions a person from another country to work for them. The company has to prove that they have not been able to find any USA resident candidate that can fulfill this position and person coming from other country has an extraordinary talent.
  • Business Visa: This is a 90-day permission to come to the USA for reasons that will assist the growth of the company you own or work for. Conferences, training, presentations, negotiations, purchases etc also for members of athletic sports or entertainment crews.
  • Student Visa: This Visa is granted to students that have been accepted to a University in the USA and have proof of acceptance, ability to pay and housing plans.
  • Tourist Visa: This visa is granted for one to six months for people that are going on vacation, visiting family, a personal event.
  • Being petitioned by a USA citizen: In some occasions, individuals can be petitioned to enter the USA legally by a spouse, fiancee, children, parents or siblings. All these petitions requirements and lengths vary from 6 months to 15 years.
  • Crossing the border:  This is the most common, hardest and dangerous way of entering the USA. As mentioned before this can be planned for years or in days depending on each individual’s circumstances. Crossing the border is not only hard and dangerous but it is very costly. It ranges from $15,000-$30,000 depending on where the starting point is. It is also not an overnight flight like the people that come with visas and petitions has the benefit of travel. The crossings take from 3 weeks to months. During this time, people walk, swim, travel in cars, animals, public transportation, and smugglers cars, trucks and/or boats. They are deprived of essentials such as food, water, heat, cool air, and safety. Crossing the desert they encounter safety risks such as environmental, cartels and animals.

For many, the question lays on “ why can’t they just come legally?” Well, coming to the USA legally is a luxury that not many have the opportunity to experience. In order to obtain any visa, you have to present to the embassy agent that you are financially stable and convince them that you have enough reasons to come back to your country and not stay illegally in the USA. Many and most people who come to the USA come from poor areas where some have minimal education, low economy, and scarce resources to ever be able to convince an agent that they will want to come back to their lifestyle, therefore they put themselves in debt and in danger in order to cross to the USA. In the next blog, we will discuss in detail experiences crossing the border and the extent that people go through to come into the country.


Mayra Aguirre is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker. For the time she has worked in the field of social work she has encountered the need of services for the Hispanic community. She has dedicated her career to supporting, treating and being the voice of her people. IBC podcast and blog is offered to the public to learn about many different psychological, social, political and diversity topics.

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