I saw a headline in the Detroit News which stated “Michigan officials, groups try to help immigrant children” and I wondered why parents who came here legally would then put their children up for care by the state or any other group.

The article spoke about Bethany Christian Services, a social services organization in Grand Rapids that are in the care of 58 children they call immigrants.  I then learned that they are part of the approximately 2300 children and teenagers that were brought to the United States unaccompanied or their parents brought them here and were caught illegally entering the United States.

I then asked myself what is the definition of an immigrant, so I searched it out and found that our government via the Department of Homeland Security defines an immigrant as:

Immigrant - See Permanent Resident Alien

So I clicked on their link that took me to their definition of a Permanent Resident Alien and it is as follows:

An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.

I then looked up the definition under Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and found the following definition of an immigrant:

one that immigrates: such as: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.

I was attempting this exercise because I wanted to use the correct terms when speaking about this issue.  I know many PC people are not concerned about using correct terms but I am.

After all of this I am still a bit confused.  It appears that the word immigrant might be correct when applied to people here in the United States illegally and legally but if they are here legally and permanent they are a Permanent Resident Alien.

As usual the government terms are not exactly clear.