Immigration and Citizenship

This post contains information I’ve wanted to share for quite some time. Some of you may be aware of what I’ve presented here, but if not, it may come as a surprise.

Becoming a U.S. Citizen is not an easy process. Nor is it cheap. Little wonder that many of the people coming from poverty-stricken countries do not rush to the nearest office and apply.

The current filing fee for Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization costs $725 (updated-2019). This includes the $640 citizenship application fees and the $85 background check cost.

That’s a lot of money. And this cost will only get more expensive as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) raises fees in the future.

Fortunately (?), the USCIS has recognized that not everyone can afford to pay these fees so they have established a fee waiver process. However, the requirements are burdensome in that the applicant must provide documentation of their “inability to pay.” For those who are not English-speaking, the process cannot help but be overwhelming.

Moreover, if the individual has immigration violations or arrests, they must hire a lawyer (more $$$) to assist them. (Based on the current climate, there are undoubtedly some who would fall into this category.)

Some immigrants go around the naturalization process and apply for a “Green Card,” which currently costs $540 (also not cheap) and allows them to be “lawful permanent residents.” However, several eligibility requirements must be met before even the Green Card can be issued so the process can get complicated. Further, these cards must be renewed (at an invariably higher amount)  every 10 years if the individual wishes to remain in the U.S.

There is another path to citizenship that may be used. In fact, if the current administration wasn’t so bound and determined to STOP immigration, many individuals from drug-infested Central American countries would most certainly qualify.

It’s called Asylum Status and is available to anyone in the United States who has “suffered persecution in his or her home country or who has a well-founded fear of persecution if he or she were to return to that country.” While there are a couple of qualifications that must be considered –i.e., “the persecution must be done by the government, or by a group that the government is unwilling or unable to control” — from all that I’ve heard and read about the drug cartels, it seems the latter would certainly be relevant.

It’s just my opinion, but considering the mess that exists at our southern borders, wouldn’t it make sense to temporarily loosen some of the requirements and allow these people to follow the path to citizenship? Stop punishing them simply because they’re seeking a better life … and for some, escaping death.

Unfortunately, as most of us know, it’s not about making sense …

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

8 thoughts on “Immigration and Citizenship

  1. Nan, I wonder if the reluctance to obtain citizenship might also be related an understanding of the importance of citizenship itself. For example in this country citizenship is not considered to be important. My wife remained a Japanese national for forty years before she finally decided to become a New Zealand citizen. As a NZ resident she had exactly the same rights, privileges and obligations as any citizen, including the right to vote, work, receive social welfare and an obligation to perform jury service and pay taxes. About the only privilege no open to her was the right to a NZ passport. When she first arrived, she could have risen to the role of Prime Minister, but a law change some 10 years after her arrival restricted being a Member of Parliament to NZ citizens.

    Many countries recognise multiple citizenship. New Zealand does, and I believe America does too. But many countries do not. This is why many people, including my wife, delay seeking citizenship. Under Japanese law, achieving citizenship of another country automatically revokes Japanese citizenship, which then makes her a foreigner in her own land. It means she can not return to live there or to outstay a visitor’s visa.

    So in some countries citizenship is an “all or nothing” attitude, as in Japan, whereas in others it’s more or less a “who cares” attitude as in New Zealand. Perhaps for some who seek to live in America, seeking citizenship is burning one bridge too many.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I view our broken immigration system in much the same way that I view our broken adoption system. Instead of focusing on placing people in safe, caring and welcoming situations because it is the best thing for the people involved, we all too often focus on money and make people jump through hoops with unnecessary rules and regulations. This is why many good people are being kept out of our country and why many children in need of a forever home are placed in temporary homes or state-run orphanages rather than in the homes of a loving family. Our priorities are screwed up when we look at people as part of a transaction rather than as an equal who deserves better.

    I’m all for legal immigration and documentation. Background checks and population monitoring are essential if you are trying to keep everyone safe and ensure enough resources are available, but I can definitely see why many people don’t go through the process we currently have in place…they simply can’t afford it. Instead of treating innocent people like criminals, we need to fix the system and fix it quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Trump has no idea what people are, all he understands is money. The more money you have the more powerful you are. Money is an aphrodisiac. Power is also. Trump is hung up on sexual satistaction, and/or sexual subservience to those richer and more powerful than he. He might look human (a bit), but he is in no way human. Immigrants from below your southern border are nothing but potential rugs to hide his dirt under.

    Like

  4. My friend & neighbor, Maha, a refugee from Iraq, is planning to take her citizenship test in October. It has been a long and arduous process for her, but she’s almost there. This nation makes it as hard as they can, throws up roadblocks at every turn, and we are depriving ourselves of good, hard-working, honest and delightful people in so doing. Frankly, if I were a citizen of Guatemala, Syria, Iraq, or other nations, I would seek asylum elsewhere, for the U.S. is no longer a safe haven for those in need of safety and a new home.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Granting permanent citizenship status to the immigrants must be based on their contribution in strengthening the economic pillars of the United States which has to be properly assessed by a special advisory committee of the US Supreme Court on a daily basis.

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    • Hello Manojit,

      Thank you for stopping by … and for offering your thoughts on immigration. (BTW, I deleted your earlier comment since it was so similar to this one.)

      Couple of questions. In your previous comment, you mentioned that the contribution of the immigrant must be “evaluated in a transparent and accurate manner.” Based on what has been happening at the southern border, it seems no “evaluations” are being conducted at all!

      In this comment, you mention an “advisory committee.” Would you please provide the source that mentions this committee?

      Thanks for any additional information you can offer.

      Like

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