For many people who were not born in this country, their naturalization ceremony is one of the greatest days of their life. Becoming a U.S. citizen here in New York, or anywhere in the country, can be the end of an important process for those who want to make a new start in a new part of the world. At a recent naturalization ceremony, former President George W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, welcomed nearly 50 new American citizens to the country with words of encouragement and warmth. They mentioned their hopes for the future of not just the immigrants who became citizens but for the United States as a whole.
When people decide to become citizens of the United States, they generally do so with optimism and a sense of excitement. Though they understand that legal processes must be followed, they may feel anxious to start the new chapter of their lives. Unfortunately, many cities across the country, including some here in New York, are reporting that unprocessed citizenship applications are piling up and not being processed as quickly as they have been in the past.
People from other countries often come to the United States in search of a better life. New York's history as a state that welcomes immigrants is still seen today, particularly in an initiative promoted by Governor Andrew Cuomo known as NaturalizeNY to help those in need obtain citizenship. The program paid the naturalization fees of more than 700 immigrants last year, and the governor has indicated that it may continue beyond the three years it has existed.
Becoming a citizen of the United States is not easy for immigrants. The naturalization process can be long and difficult to complete, and it is not unusual for applicants to face setbacks along the way. However, when individuals in New York and across the country are able to reach their goals of citizenship, they often feel overjoyed.
Every few years, residents of New York and other states get the opportunity to participate in a national census. The census polls thousands of households across the nation about things like income, taxes, employment and family size. The census typically includes any person living in the United States, whether or not one's citizenship is documented. The data from the census is used to help lawmakers determine what the needs of the current population may be.
New York, home to the Statue of Liberty and the historic Ellis Island, has long been a beacon to immigrants from all over the world. A symbol of opportunity and new beginnings, immigrants have flocked to the state for centuries with the hopes of becoming a tried and true American. A new policy may bring those American dreams crashing to a halt, as proposed immigration policy changes may deny citizenship to legal immigrants.
The United States has been utilizing a periodic gathering of information about its people known as the census for over 200 years now. Every 10 years, census takers travel to ask questions about the people residing in the U.S. Soon, individuals in New York may notice that a question about citizenship has been added to the normal roster of questions. Although some object to the question being added, there has been a history of its inclusion in the Census.
For many, it was the achievement of a long-held goal. The struggle to come to a new country, learn the laws and the customs, and to finally be granted citizenship was the triumphant journey for many individuals who called themselves immigrants. Now, 20 individuals are calling themselves citizens after a recent citizenship ceremony held in New York.
For some, their dream is to come to America and try their hand at the American Dream. Immigration can be a costly and lengthy process, and trying to cut corners can have detrimental effects. If a person is deported, he or she may not get the opportunity to ever gain U.S. citizenship. Individuals in New York who wish to become U.S. citizens should understand the processes and costs associated with it.
The military has traditionally been a path for immigrants to become part of life here in the United States. Now, the path to citizenship through the military just got a little more difficult. A new policy change has led to the closing of three naturalization centers at military basic training sites. Immigrants in New York hoping to gain citizenship after basic training may have to wait a little bit longer.