"Did you overstay your visa?"
It's the most common assumption by Americans, that immigrants overstay their visas. I don't know how many times I've heard it over the years. So first: No, I didn't overstay my visa. In fact, in my case my visa was still good for another couple of years and I was deported anyway. But, I didn't study full time. Is that a crime? That would be the second assumption among Americans that is even harder to break, even as ICE themselves confirm that it's not illegal, as in criminal, to violate a visa. It's not illegal to loose a job or get a divorce!
And if you think that most immigrants are illegal, are you then that too, since most Americans consider themselves immigrants?
It's hard to go against someone claiming to be German for example, or Irish perhaps, when the truth is the guy was born in America, with at least an American born parent, or even both! If you are a born citizen of a country, you are of that nationality. Face it: you are neither African, nor European, you are Americans!
If you wonder what it's like to be like your ancestors, I sincerely wish more Americans would dare go live abroad for a while, and learn to speak their original language in the original country. Not even French Canadians speak like French in France, less behave like! Neither do you.
Do you have to? Do you have to pretend to be immigrants when you aren't anymore?
The hardest assumption to overcome though, is that it's all ICE's fault, or the immigrant's, that someone becomes deported or work illegally. It's not! It's much more likely that it's an American refusing to certify a relationship, whether as an employee or a spouse, with an immigrant that therethrough makes him/her "illegal"! In my case, the university raised their tuition, delayed transfer of credits, and refused to endorse temporary workauthorisation and/or Optional Practical Training.
"Come back when you have a green card, I'll give you a job!" What if giving me a job would enable the green card?
So, if you don't want immigrants to be "illegal", don't make them.