Immigration and U.S. Citizenship

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Citizenship is hard to come by for immigrants currently living in the United States. Immigrants, whether here illegally or not, make up for about thirty-five million of the population. Each individual or family came to the United States for their own reasons. Some left their own country due to war or hard times while others better lives. The immigrants who are already in the United States have an opportunity to become a citizen, but the process may take years. Should both legal and illegal immigrants be able to get citizenship?

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Currently, there are two different types of immigrants. Those who came to the United States lawfully and those who came undocumented or illegally. Nearly 34 million lawful immigrants live in the United States (Krogstad 1) and in addition, roughly 1 million unauthorized immigrants have temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. (Krogstad 1). There is a program going on that is directed to the families who have lasting residency that allows a person from the outside to have a green card as long as they have immediate family members living as an actual U.S. citizen. This helps secure rights to safely live in the United States. Without it, becoming a citizen would become harder.

Illegal immigrants may have come for no bad intentions at all, but at the White House, they are [considered] [outsiders], criminals who [risk] American neighborhoods, take American jobs, [take] American resources and [take advantage of] American generosity (Yee 2). Those illegal immigrants just wanted to come to the country to get to a better place. To the people in the office, the immigrants are no more than taking everything America has to offer. The most common type people to be associated with immigration are the Mexicans. This is not true as almost a quarter are not even Hispanic (Yee 2). Despite all this, these immigrants tend to follow the laws and doing everything a typical American family does. The Trump administration still says just being in the United States without any clear authorization is illegal. The Obama administration had a different approach to this. Any illegal immigrant who did not do any major crimes would be allowed to stay; as long as those same immigrants check in with an immigration agent every year, they are free to stay and continue working.

The Trump administration is still going to deport immigrants with severe criminal records, but the new policies also take aim at immigrants whose offenses are limited to living here without permission or minor crimes that enable immigrants to work (Yee 6). The immigrants had no choice in getting what they need to work. They may have used fake Social Security numbers, but what other way would they get what they need to work without risking going back to where they originated? The immigrants have also been driving without a driver’s license. They may have been doing something illegal, but they did it to support their families. To prevent this, visas are given to the immigrants that register for it. Visas tend to expire. Once they do, it may be difficult to renew them. Nothing may be done and [s]ome people think [the immigrants] come [to the United States] and overstay their visas intentionally (Yee 9). Overstaying the visas causes all the current families to risk deportation. There is little that can be done to prevent going back to where they originated. A person may have an expired visa despite having a good job and a steady life. Rebeca, whose last name remains hidden for personal concerns, was one of these victims of having her visa expired. She was originally from Venezuela working as a television reporter. In the United States, she found work as a nanny, then got a job as a designer at a clothing business in Southern California (Yee, 9). The only reason why she left Venezuela was so she can avoid all the death threats and attacks she was receiving. This is an example of how just one person, who got a better life, can have everything taken away from them.

One proposal to stop anyone from immigrating to their family for a green card is a sort of point-based system. How the system works is it prioritizes the admission of immigrants with certain education and employment qualifications (Krogstad 2). The system would favor more immigrants who would have a higher education than most other immigrants. Without a proper qualification in education, it is most likely they will not make it into citizenship. Being an optimal worker may counter education, but no matter the case there will always be someone left out. This system would help the American people keep their jobs by limiting the number of immigrants that come in. With constant complaints about immigrants taking their jobs, they wouldn’t have to worry about it if the point-based system passes under the current administration.

Another method for immigrants receiving green cards is the visa lottery. This sort of lottery lets about 50,000 people receive green cards (Krogstad 3). Immigrants that benefit more from this are the ones who came from countries that aren’t represented well. This means more well-known countries can’t benefit from it. Two of these countries that can’t benefit from it are Mexico and China. They are unable to gain any visas through the lottery because they have a bigger presence in America. Such situation isn’t so bad as the population would go on to being diverse with lesser known countries. President Trump wants this sort of lottery to be gone. Removing a random lottery would stop more immigrants coming into the United States. Simply decreasing the population of the immigrants would be increasing any sort of jobs available. The Trump administration is focusing on making more jobs for the available public. Cutting out programs that are in place brings those jobs for the American people.

Simply getting a visa takes from ten to twenty years. During the 18th century, there were no illegal immigrants in the United States (Cohen 1). The only ones there who would be close to being illegal were the British Loyalists. These Loyalists were the very same ones who fought back the Americans during the Revolutionary War. When America was formed, the Loyalists wanted to be citizens. Surprisingly, they and their families made up approximately 20 percent of the population (Cohen 1). A case was held in the Supreme Court in the year of 1805. This case made the Loyalists citizens. Not only did the case provide citizenship for the Loyalists, they also provided the foundation to creating citizenship to the immigrants who would come into the United States on their own free will. This may be the case as of now, but the American people still don’t want the illegal immigrants to be citizens. They are afraid that the undocumented or temporary workers who have lived [in America] for years will trivialize [the] immigration laws (Cohen 3). With so many undocumented immigrants and temporary workers in the country, immigration laws would start to seem irrelevant.

Immigrants should be given their opportunities to get citizenship. It shouldn’t matter if they came to the United States illegally or not. These immigrants have left their countries to be able to escape their past or get away from war. Visas are helpful, but it would only last for a limited time; once that visa expires, deportation would be imminent. Everything they have worked for during the visa would be gone. Coming to the United States illegally is a risk in itself, so earning the right to become a citizen for both legal and illegal immigrants should be rewarding.

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Immigration and U.S. Citizenship. (2019, Apr 12). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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