Becoming a U.S. Citizen

Posted by Chelsea M. Michigan
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This passage is about the process of becoming a U.S. citizen and a specific perspective of that process from the eyes of my parents.

To become a U.S. citizen is a time consuming process that varies from person to person. It can be seen as a hassle with some unnecessary steps or poorly phrased questions, but it’s something that provides a certain sense of security to those that are living in the U.S.

People become U.S. citizens for many reasons, one of many is to be safer in the U.S. The abilities of U.S. citizens are greater than those of a green card holder. A citizen can vote in elections and help a family member obtain a visa. It can also just be more convenient for travel or someone might just like having it. Plus, a green card holder can be deported on many grounds and being a citizen saves them from that.

So, they go through the process of becoming a citizen. They have to find out if they’re eligible and if they aren’t, fix those eligibilities. Then fill out a form, get fingerprinted, attend an interview, and attend the oath ceremony. After all of that finally become an American citizen.

This process can often be long and complicated, though what actually unfolds varies from case to case. Sometimes things get drawn and take longer than they should. I can only personally comment on one situation, that is the one my mom went through. I was alive while my mom was becoming a citizen, but I was really young, two or three, so I don’t remember anything about it. Now, while I’m not able to remember the situation it was recounted to me very recently. When my mom first applied for a citizenship, it took months to get a response. My father had to go and ask about her papers before anything actually happened. Once they finally got a response, she had to fill out forms with some hard to comprehend language that she might not have been able to finish without the help of my dad. Both of my parents even agreed that some of the questions were “pointless and redundant.”

After the forms my mom had to get fingerprinted and, besides the six month wait in the beginning, this was the most frustrating part. My mom had to go to Grand Rapids to get fingerprinted and they ended up losing her fingerprints leading to her having to go back for the same reason, but after that was sorted it was just the interview left, which went smoothly.

Throughout the process there were many bumps in the road. My dad attributes the six month wait in the beginning to the papers probably being completely misplaced and says that’s the most likely reason nothing happened until they ended up calling them. My mom’s main complaint was that the interview and fingerprinting were in separate buildings which led to hassle in the amount of driving. While my dad thought that the entire process “could’ve been streamlined” especially since “she had no criminal record and was married to an American citizen.” With my father even saying, “we were frustrated, but it never felt like too much because I knew [my mom] was going to be a citizen. But it was frustrating at times” Even though both of my parents had complaints about the process, my mom says that the entire ordeal was well worth it to become a U.S. citizen.

This process does have some objective faults, like the fact that someone that had become fluent in English was struggling with some of the language in the form and that someone’s fingerprint can just be lost. Not even taking into account the fact that the papers that were used to start the process were misplaced for six months. Even though there are these flaws of the process, it still works out in the end and the process has been slowly improving. Becoming a citizen is and was a worthwhile and unique process, for both my mom and many other immigrants.

Published on Feb 27, 2018
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