The immigration laws are always changing. The laws, the statutes, the regulations, and court decisions, which interpret the statutes are the regulations. These changes may impact the content of this course. Always, please consult an immigration specialist, a lawyer or a non-profit lawyer and for list of non-profit organizations, public interest organizations around the US. Please consult with immigration advocates who host a legal directory in their website. Just to put everything in context, in the US, we have three branches of government. The legislative branch made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate and it is this Congress that passes the immigration laws which almost every year are amended. The executive branch, the president, under various departments or ministries, such as the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, implement or execute the laws which Congress pass. If they're ever disputes regarding immigration law or the way those laws are being implemented by the executive branch, the third branch, the courts tries to settle those disputes. Professor Virgil Wiebe at the University of St. Thomas came up with a metaphor where he says that our immigration laws are like a hotel or a condominium. Just like in a hotel or a condominium, there's a lobby and you can enter the lobby but at some point an hour, two hours, three hours later, you have to leave and if you want to stay, you need to buy yourself a floor on the first, second, third, fourth floor and the best place to live in a building is the top, the penthouse. By analogy, our immigration laws are like a condominium. You can come into the US for a short-term and those short-term entries are called non-immigrant entries though non-immigrant or short-term can last as long as four years, six years, 10 years but if you want to stay in the country permanently, the way to do it is to be sponsored by a family member or be sponsored by an employer or ask for asylum for yourself or when the diversity visa or the lottery. The best place in the United States scheme is to be a citizen analogous to living in the penthouse in a condominium. Just like you need a passport and visa to come in, that is just like a door and a key to come into the room, so a passport is like a door. Passports are issued by your country of origin and a visa is the key that the US government gives you to come in. There are ways to come into the US for a short-term, as we discussed in module 1, which can be obtained relatively quickly. Again, in module 1, we talked about ways to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose, to study, or to work temporarily, or to engage in religious work, or to work. In this module, we'll talk about ways that individuals can enter the United States and immigrate or stay here permanently. These words are all synonyms. People can enter the country permanently as lawful permanent residents, legal permanent residents, LPR, green card holder, immigrants. I'll be using these words interchangeably, but they're all the same. A lawful permanent resident, a legal permanent resident, and LPR, a green card holder, and immigrant. They're all the same. In the same way that we talked about ways that people can come in to the US as a non-immigrant, to study, to visit, to work, to engage religious work. There are also humanitarian visas. Similarly, there are categories for people to come into the US permanently. Some permanent ways to enter the country are to be sponsored by a family member, to be sponsored by an employer, to ask for protection for refugee status or asylum, to ask to stay here because you're a juvenile who's been abandoned, abused, or neglected, and your parents are not here. Another way to become an immigrant is to enter and win the diversity visa program. We're going to go over each of these in detail.