Steps to Become Citizen: on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, there is a Guide to Naturalization that outlines a pamphlet explaining what it takes to become a legal citizen of the U.S., a necessary step for immigrants if they wish to legally remain in the country. In addition to filling out the application for citizenship (N-400) for citizenship, an immigrant must:
– get fingerprinted
– undergo an interview at a USCIS office
– take an English and Civics test
– attend a Citizenship Ceremony
– take Oath of Allegiance (commit to citizenship and renounce any allegiances to other countries)
The fact that immigrants must learn English in order to become a citizen stresses the process of assimilation into American culture; it seems if immigrants are to live permanently in the U.S., they best learn the language.
Responsibilities of Citizens: In the Guide to Naturalization, I found the following statement:
“America becomes stronger when all of its citizens respect the different opinions, cultures, ethnic groups, and religions found in this country. Tolerance for differences is also a responsibility of citizenship.”
This statement reveals the prevailing positive public opinion toward immigration if citizenship is achieved. America is more than willing to accept people into the country and society if they make the step to become a legal citizen; to do so would begin the process of becoming assimilated into the culture of life in the U.S. In addition, According to the above quote, tolerance for differences is a necessary qualification for citizenship. This may be understood and accepted by those immigrants applying for citizenship, but do non-immigrants/citizens born in the U.S. live up to this even though it is a “necessary responsibility?”
The Price of Citizenship: in order for an immigrant to have their citizenship application filed, they must pay a fee of $595 in addition to the $85 fee for having their fingerprints taken; this adds up to a total of $680. If America truly is supportive of receiving immigrants if they apply for citizenship, is it fair to ask them to pay such a steep price? Is the purpose of these fees to influence immigrants to not take their citizenship for granted, like some Americans?
http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/article/M-476.pdf (Guide to Naturalization)
http://www.uscis.gov/n-400 (link to N-400 form, necessary documents)