Permanent residents in the United States must meet certain standards prior to obtaining citizenship. Generally, permanent residents must prove that they were residents of California or another state for a continuous period of five years. They must also prove that they were physically in the country for 30 months in the five-year period before applying or 18 months within the last three years for qualified spouses of citizens.
California residents who are seeking U.S. citizenship may be interested in one way to make it happen more quickly. Under U.S. law, military service often provides a faster track toward naturalization.
As California residents may know, when an individual owes allegiance to two countries simultaneously, they are considered to be a dual national. Countries have laws that speak to this issue. In the U.S., the law does not deal with dual nationality other than to acknowledge it exists. When a foreign national becomes a U.S. citizen, the U.S. does not force the individual to choose.
On Tuesday, there were many people at the Los Angeles Convention Center putting the final tocuhes on their U.S. Citizenship. It was a major moment in all of their lives, and it will be a day that they won't soon regret. But there was also another positive outcome from that citizenship ceremony: there were people on hand to help the newly-minted citizens to get registered for the upcoming election.
People who are citizens of the United States and didn't have to go through an application process to obtain it really don't understand just what a privilege they have. There are millions of good people in other countries who would love to become U.S. citizens, but simply don't have the resources to obtain it, or they are overlooked during the process of trying to get citizenship.
The dream for many people who consider the United States of America their home is to one day pledge allegiance to the flag and obtain U.S. citizenship. In order to make this dream a reality, there are many requirements that the individual must meet. Once these requirements are met, they can take a naturalization test -- if they don't already qualify for U.S. citizenship in some other way -- which can earn them U.S. citizenship.
Imagine that, at the age of five, you were brought into the United States under illegal circumstances. Your parents decided at that time that it was beneficial for the whole family to attempt an entry into the country. You were successful, and your family has been living in the U.S. ever since. However, you live in constant fear that one random encounter with the police could lead to a massive investigation into your lack of citizenship, one that would eventually result in your (and possibly your family's) deportation.
One of the hot button issues of recent weeks has been the sudden influx of unaccompanied children entering the United States. As a result, thousands of them are being left at the US-Mexico border, causing a massive humanitarian crisis and prompting a major debate about our immigration policies.