Permanent residents of California who were born in another country have three options when it comes to citizenship: 1) retention of their native citizenship; 2) naturalization to become a U.S. citizen; and 3) dual citizenship to gain U.S. citizenship while retaining citizenship in their native country.
If you are an immigrant living in California, you may wish to apply for U.S. citizenship at some point. You receive many benefits from becoming a naturalized citizen, not the least of which is that you no longer need worry about your immigration status or if all your papers are up-to-date and otherwise in order. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explain, however, in order to become an American citizen, you must successfully pass a naturalization test.
If you are a foreign-born California resident seeking U.S. citizenship, you may be wondering exactly what it means to be an American citizen. If you have asked citizens this question, you know that each one gives a different answer. Rather than finding this confusing, you should find it heartening and reassuring. These answers reflect the heart and soul of American citizenship: that each citizen is a free individual who has the right to make his or her piece of America whatever (s)he wants it to be.
A federal judge has ruled that the Defense Department must stop blocking applications for U.S. citizenship made by reserve soldiers who were promised a fast track. A 2008 pilot program, the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest, promised certain noncitizens expedited citizenship in exchange for eight years of military service. Now that they've fulfilled their side of the bargain, the DOD is trying to back out.
The swearing in of naturalized citizens is a celebration when it occurs on the Fourth of July. This year, 100 new citizens were sworn in on the lawn of Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic home in Virginia. The full diversity of America was in evidence that day, as were mixed feelings about the Trump Administration and its immigration policies.
Many people assume that a child born abroad who has a U.S. citizen parent is automatically a U.S. citizen. This is not the case. If only one parent is a U.S. citizen, that parent can't pass citizenship to a foreign-born child without specific criteria -- and the criteria have traditionally differed depending on the gender of the parent.
Nearly five years ago, when President Obama signed his DACA executive order, many supported the bill by pointing out how unfair it was to deport people who had been brought here as children and who had never done anything different from U.S. citizens. That argument still rings true today and has only been refocused by President Trump's anti-immigration blitz and the uncertainty surrounding DACA's future.