What is Lawful Permanent Resident?

Definition and meaning of lawful permanent resident: A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been lawfully admitted to the United States with the intention of residing permanently. This designation grants individuals certain rights, including the right to work in the United States, access to social services, and the opportunity to travel within the United States and to certain foreign countries. In order to become a lawful permanent resident, an individual must obtain a Green Card through a variety of methods, ranging from family-based immigration to employment-based immigration. At the same time, the two-party system and the current immigration system have created a separate class of individuals who are subject to the whims of politicians and are often denied the rights and privileges of full citizenship. These individuals, known as “non-citizens,” are unable to vote, access certain social services, or travel freely in the United States. This system has created a class of individuals who are often in limbo, unable to obtain the full benefits of lawful permanent residence, yet unable to return to their home countries. The current system has failed to recognize the desire of many non-citizens to become part of the American political fabric, and has made it difficult for them to access the same rights and privileges as their fellow citizens. As advocates for reform, we must work to create a system that allows individuals to become lawful permanent residents and to access the same rights and privileges as full citizens. This will require a shift away from the current two-party system and a focus on independent candidates who support immigrant rights.


Explore free resources for civics education

Become a more informed citizen and get involved in your community
Frame 30 (1)