Tag Archive | "American citizenship"

So You Want to Be an American?

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Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shores.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.




These words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty hearken back to a time when the United States government meant them.   From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, throngs of humanity forsook their homelands to make a long and sometimes perilous journey by sea across the Atlantic Ocean.  Landing on Ellis Island, these people gazed up in wonder at the proud and majestic Lady Liberty.  The torch she held aloft was a metaphor for the travelers’ hopes and dreams: they had finally reached America, the land whose streets were said to be paved with gold.


Some came from Ireland; the lucky ones, that is.  Too many Irish men, women, and children died of starvation at sea, the victims of their country’s two potato famines.  Others came from Europe simply to make better lives for themselves and their children.  Irish, Italian, or Eastern European, each group arrived with their own language and culture.  Before they would come to create America’s “melting pot,” their one commonality was their belief in the promises carved onto the Statue of Liberty.


As the saying goes, “That was then. This is now.”  Now, those promises are so empty that perhaps we should consider scrapping them as we did the Berlin Wall.  The truth is that the golden door is closed for the huddled masses and wretched refuse named in the inscription on Lady Liberty.  The Land of the Free is no longer free of charge.  Today, it costs money to apply for U.S. citizenship.


According to the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Service), that cost is $680.00 American dollars, $595.00 of which is required to process a single application from a single foreigner.  The remaining $85.00 is for biometric fees.  A full 90% of the USCIS’ budget comes from these fees.  The fees are adjusted every two years and guess what?  They are never adjusted downward.  The USCIS claims that the process of naturalization – the final step before attaining citizenship — is expensive.  Indeed, it is.  As a requirement for attaining citizenship, immigrants must be permanent, legal residents of the United States for at least five years.  This time span is shorter if applicants’ parents or spouses are U.S, citizens.


Some immigrants, however, don’t achieve citizenship so, ahem, quickly.  For some living and working under reduced circumstances, it’s difficult to save up the necessary fees.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that the fees are non-refundable; neither does their payment guarantee citizenship.  Even Green Cards carry fees.  But hey, the USCIS doesn’t care about these petty matters.  With 90% of the agency’s budget dependent upon the fees it charges, one can only assume just how hefty the salaries of the agency’s top management must be.


As Popeye would say, “I can read written an’ write wrotten, but this writin’ is wrotten rotten.”  I guess the USCIS wants to acquaint would-be citizens with the American banking system before they even arrive on our shores.


However, all is not rotten in Denmark … I mean, the U.S. of A.  The Obama administration has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging increased citizenship because it is good for America.  Ali Noonani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, stated, “We applaud the Administration for not increasing [fees] and putting a halt to increased fees for immigrants who are eager to become American citizens.”   But even if the fees remain where they are, would-be citizens still have to come up with 680 bucks.  This truly is good for America because our government has discovered a new source of revenue that does not involve taxing the rich.  All we need are immigrants willing and able to pay into the system.


It is any wonder that hordes of aliens are streaming illegally across our southern borders in hot pursuit of the American Dream?  For those who slip like butter past the border guards, life is but a dream.  But for those trying to enter this country legally, that dream has become a nightmare.


What Does It Mean to Be an American Citizen?

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The recent news of the death of a high-ranking Al-Qaeda “martyr” is not as rosy as it appeared at first glance.  Anwar al-Awlaki, an enemy of the United States, was actually an American citizen born in Las Cruces, New Mexico on April 22, 1971.

At the age of seven, al-Awlaki’s parents returned with their son to their native Yemen. There, the budding terrorist completed his high school education before returning to the U.S. with specific goals in mind. Entering the country with a foreign Visa and armed with a scholarship from Yemen, he attended Colorado University in 1991.  (Hint: his goals were not higher education.) Three years later, al-Awlaki graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  During his academic career, he also became the President of the university’s Muslim Association.

During his formative years, al-Awlaki’s ideology was shaped by the violent propaganda of Sayyid Qutb, the originator of an anti-Western jihad group.  Later, al-Awlaki become an Imam cleric in a mosque based in California.

As the life of this scum plays out in the media, one has to wonder.  One wonders why an American traitor that may have been involved in the unprovoked destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001 and the deaths of 3,000 innocent citizens is worthy of this posthumous glory.  Why not cast it off the bastard’s death as good riddance to bad rubbish?  Why all this coverage lionizing a man whose ideology was, “Death to America!”

al-Awlaki’s story begs the question, “By what criteria does a person truly become an American citizen?”  Is it the birthright of a newborn brought forth upon this soil?  Is it the Pledge of Allegiance when that child is old enough to understand the tenets of that pledge?  In al-Awlaki’s case, as in the case of all would-be criminals, parental guidance should prevail in child rearing, guidance that must include screening of the child’s associates.  No doubt the terrorist’s parents were terrorist sympathizers.

America is one of the few nations to allow its people to practice freedom of speech and religion.  Our children are the pride of our nation.  It a reasonable assumption that our children will uphold — and when the time comes, teach their own children to uphold — the canons of our founding fathers.

The United States of America began as English colonies.  The only true Americans were the Natives that inhabited and respected this vast land.  After the American Revolution, a new nation emerged for free men and women.  It would eventually become the world’s melting pot of immigrants seeking freedom from religious and social oppression, freedom from hunger, and in general, a better way of life for themselves and their descendants.

Two hundred fifty three years after the birth of the United States, the world has changed greatly, and not for the better.  Today, we struggle with a flailing economy and attempts to reform social programs.  This may be good time to consider reforming the ways in which people acquire U.S. citizenship.  The reformation would help to protect our society from murdering radicals who, by chance or intention, are born here, reap our country’s riches, but give no genuine allegiance to the land of their birth.

The murderers of thousands of 9/11 victims, the Fort Hood murderer of thirteen brave service men and a chaplain, the Underwear Bomber, and the Time Square Wanna-Be Bomber were all educated and employed here. Their pledges of allegiance to this country were lies.  They took full advantage of the freedoms offered here to commit their heinous, cowardly acts upon innocent Americans.

Unequivocally, U.S. citizenship should be prized, as it was by the millions of Europeans who escaped tyrannies and poverty abroad to flow legally through Ellis Island and the welcoming arms of America.  With citizenship comes the responsibility of preserving our freedoms at all costs.  If We the People do not demand reform in our citizenship laws, we will allow the perpetrators of hate and violence to undermine our society.  “United we stand, divided we fall.” 

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