Anyone tuning into the nightly news, browsing the websites of preferred media outlets or listening to the hourly bulletins on their car radio is understandably inundated with all sorts of stories covering the 2016 presidential election. Indeed, much of this coverage has been -- and will continue to be-- dedicated to the hotly contested topic of immigration.
In a previous post on this blog, we discussed the differences between being a lawful permanent resident and being a U.S. citizen. In that blog, which can be read in full here, we noted that there are number of benefits and rights citizens are afforded that others are not.
Many people in Florida are familiar with the theory of birthright citizenship. This means that if someone is born in the U.S., he or she is automatically granted citizenship (though there are some specific exceptions). Even if a baby is born to parents who are not lawful permanent residents in the U.S., the baby will be considered a citizen. This birthright citizenship is addressed and protected by the 14th Amendment.
There are many people who believe that if an immigrant comes to the U.S., follows the rules and gets on a path to citizenship, he or she will be able to get a visa and become a permanent resident in the United States.
Immigration laws in the U.S. are enormously complicated, especially for people who are already struggling to adjust to life in a new country. Issues related to citizenship and adjustments of statuses can also create a very real sense of fear. People who are trying to secure their status in this country can be frightened about what will happen if they are arrested or at risk of being deported.
Readers may be aware that in most cases babies who are born in the United States are considered citizens of this nation. This is true even if their parents are not U.S. citizens. The birth of a baby in the U.S. to noncitizen parents sometimes creates a situation with which the nation has a hard time reconciling. Should the parents of children who are here without documentation be sent home? If so, do the kids—who are citizens of the U.S.—go with them?
In our last two posts we have focused on the requirements of United States citizenship as well as what to expect of the citizenship test. In this post we will focus on one resident of Florida who recently made it through the process. Baseball player Jose Fernandez recently became a U.S. citizen.
For some individuals the road to United States citizenship is a long one. Depending on the individual he or she could face issues surrounding among other things, child support, arrests and the failure to pay taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service. Once those matters are cleared up other things could get in the way of someone becoming a citizen such as difficulties with the citizenship test.
Reports show that there are roughly 800,000 immigrants in Florida who are eligible for citizenship, with 500,000 of them living in South Florida.
While much of the nation is divided about what immigration reform should look like, it is important that immigrants realize that the discussion has not changed the fact that for those who meet the guidelines, United States citizenship is still an option. This is illustrated by new Americans who recently swore their allegiance to the United States.