An earthquake, a major hurricane and a persistent cholera outbreak -- this is what migrant Haitians are facing a return to. After the disasters, the United States offered a program called Temporary Protected Status, that allowed these individuals to come to this country for relief from the various crises. But now, the current administration has decided to discontinue the TPS for Haitians and asks those individuals in New York and elsewhere to prepare to go home instead of preparing for citizenship.
A person undergoing the path to citizenship in the United States is subject to many federal rules and policies. One new rule, which will go into effect on Oct. 18, allows the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the ability to access several types of online records about a person. Before naturalization, an individual in New York may be subject to this type of investigation as immigration agencies strengthen their standards and practices.
Many individuals venture to the United States, seeking a permanent home. Of the sixteen Caribbean nations analyzed by Department of Homeland Security data, individuals from the Dominican Republic are the leaders in seeking American citizenship. Recent news coverage gives a snapshot look at the numbers of people coming from Caribbean nations to New York and all other U.S. states.
As one state goes, potentially others will follow. A northwestern state is considering making the mention of citizenship inadmissible in criminal court cases unless the defendant's immigration status is relevant to the case. Proponents and opponents are hashing out the details, while other states like New York watch intently. It remains to be seen if similar rules will be applied in other states.
For nearly 200 immigrants, there could hardly be a better day. Wherever they came from and however far they traveled, their paths all converged at the New York Public Library where they stood to take citizenship oaths, the final step in the path to becoming an American citizen. A short recent news article about the ceremony shares tidbits about the individuals there, giving faces to the many people who travel to the United States looking to establish themselves as naturalized citizens.
Rules regarding immigration can seem arbitrary and murky. Some cases, due to their highly contested and unclear nature, rise all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. A recent Supreme Court decision, appealed from the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals, finds that it is unfair to favor mothers over fathers in a certain citizenship issue.
The ceremonies take place each week in New York City locations. Yet each time a naturalization ceremony is held, it is special. The procedure transforms citizens of countries from around the world into new U.S. citizens with all the privileges and rights that come with citizenship.
Like so many activists these days, the organizer of tomorrow's La Marcha de Mayo in New York City is new to activism. Before she began work on the May 6 event, her civic participation was limited to voting.
"Your argument is demeaning the priceless value of citizenship," said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy during oral arguments Wednesday. "You're arguing for the government of the United States, talking about what citizenship is and ought to mean."
There are often many hurdles to overcome before a person can become a U.S. citizen. Few of those hurdles include a trip to the Supreme Court, however.