Maxwell J. Kerwin
Professor Beth Anish
29 April 2011
America the great, land of the free and fortunate a county whose citizens take pride in freedom, their accomplishments, and a nation that is so deeply rooted in immigration. Dating back generations upon generations, my ancestors along with yours have travelled from their native land to American in hope of a better life and a brighter future. America is viewed by many as a country of happiness the “melting pot” for families that seek liberty and life but that age of immigration has come and gone. America now 200 years past that period, still holds its core value of hard work. Our ancestors worked hard for their families themselves and their future. The method of becoming an American citizen has expanded into a process that takes time, hard work, and sacrifices all of which our ancestors that came to America encountered. Freedom is a right and a privilege that takes time and effort to obtain.
The history of the United States naturalization/ immigration process is the history of the United States itself. “Dating back 221 years to 1790 the first steps of the naturalization process came to be stating that free white persons could become citizens”(Bolger). Women of this time where allowed to become citizen but couldn't do such things as own land or vote. This early in time a large margin of immigrants had no choice over whether they wanted to immigrate to the United States due to the high demand of slaves needed. “Around the time of 1868 the 14th amendment stated that any persons native born are citizens. During the civil war in 1870 the 2nd naturalization law came to be granting citizen ship to emancipated slaves and their children”(Bolger). At this time most became citizens fairly quickly and others where prohibited from entering the United States or becoming citizens due to their race, gender, religious views, and country of origin. These where mostly Asians due to the 24th bill passed excluding Asians indefinitely. This would not become corrected until 1965 with the immigration act that did away with racial barriers. These laws where just a few of many major changes to get the naturalization process to its best potential.
In order to become a permanent resident you must complete the naturalization process to insure the right to remain in the United States indefinitely. You may obtain a green card that is a much simpler and less time consuming process but with one minor criminal charge you could be subjected to deportation. With that being said it is a much smarter choice to become a citizen of the United States due to the fact that you withhold permanent residency. “America welcomes qualified immigrants to become citizens. Immigrants deserve a naturalization process that is fair, efficient, and affordable, but also ensures criminals cannot slip through the system”(Kennedy Act). Becoming an American citizen is a privilege that one must fight for and show loyalty and commitment to the Constitution. There are certain requirements one must abide by in order to start the naturalization process. First are the technical requirements which is age and marital status. “You are eligible if you are at least eight-teen years of age and have been a permanent resident for five years without leaving the United States for six months or longer. You may also apply if you are at least eight-teen years old and have been married to and living with U.S. citizen for at least three years”(USCIS).
An important part of becoming an American is of course the language requirement. The person looking to obtain citizenship must go through a written and oral evaluation. In order to become naturalized you need to be able to read, write, and speak basic English. This is an important aspect because English is currently the dominant language throughout this country, and in order to show aspiration to become a citizen English is needed. Along with the...
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