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Public Affairs Professionals and Immigration

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Several branches of public offices handle different aspects of the immigration process. Public affairs and immigration go hand in hand, as immigration is a key public sector issue. The following examples detail public affairs involvement in immigration.

The Bureau of Citizenship

The Bureau of Citizenship is an office of public affairs that enables immigrants to become legal citizens of the United States. Bureau staff help immigrants gather the necessary information and documentation to apply for and obtain citizenship. A person in this role might perform the following tasks:

  • Help the person seeking citizenship prepare their application.
  • Provide the applicant with the necessary materials to prepare for the citizenship test.
  • Conduct interviews.
  • Help the applicant obtain a green card.

Obtaining citizenship can be a long and complicated process. Professionals working in this public sector help immigrants navigate the process and develop temporary solutions while they wait.

Federal Involvement in Immigration

At the federal level, public affairs officials work on immigration policy. This branch of the public sector is responsible for creating and implementing laws specifically related to immigration. Congress, in particular, presents, hears and votes on laws related to immigration.

Public affairs officials at the federal level will have some involvement in policy implementation and management. You might be responsible for drafting documents, conducting research or preparing other materials. Should you work at the congressional level, you might review proposed immigration legislation or make suggestions regarding immigration legislation.

Local and State Involvement in Immigration

Since the federal government handles immigration laws, states cannot create their own policies, but they can enforce federal government regulations.

Employees in state and local public offices can regulate how local businesses interact with immigrants. For instance, a local business that hires illegal immigrants could face fines or further legal action, and public sector staff at this level might deal with penalizing businesses for these violations.

Working at the state and local levels could also involve community education and engagement programs designed to help locals understand immigration. This is another avenue for people working in public affairs at the local and state levels.

Research, Technology and Law

One of the most appealing aspects of working as a public official in immigration is the range of available opportunities. The public sector regularly conducts research on people entering the country and how they function once they take residence.

Agencies and offices dealing directly with immigration need proper technology for security and education. If you are interested in a technology job, the public sector has opportunities for you. Updating and implementing new technology to ensure agencies function efficiently is important when dealing with immigration.

There is also a need for lawyers to represent immigrants, help them obtain green cards and work with the Bureau of Citizenship.

Education and Skills

Education and skill requirements for public officials in immigration vary based on the position you seek. For example, you must have a law degree if you want to represent immigrants as an attorney. Most public affairs and immigration jobs require a bachelor’s degree in policy, research or some other specialized field. An MPA degree can help differentiate a public affairs and immigration job seeker because the degree program specifically develops leadership skills in public affairs.

The public sector is a great place to begin a career in immigration. There are many available opportunities, and the right combination of education and skills can set you up for success in this field.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MPA program.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Houston Chronicle: Penalties for Hiring Illegal Workers

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