Earlier this week, President Barack Obama presented the State of
the Union Address. The State of the Union Address is meant to
inform the American people of the direction in which the President
hopes to lead the country in the coming year. Some may find
it inspiring, some may be discouraged.
As in prior years, and prior speeches, the President called for
immigration reform. There seems to be a consensus between the
President, many members of Congress, and the public, that
immigration reform is needed. Perhaps this year there will finally
be meaningful action to improve the country's immigration
Most American citizens can vote in elections for
representatives at all levels of government. Our voices can
be heard based on our votes.
For those who want to make a life here, gaining
eligibility to vote is perhaps the most important reason to become
a US citizen. Citizenship provides the opportunity to be
A threshold requirement which must be met in order to
apply for naturalization to US citizenship is the duration of time
during which a person has held US permanent residence.
Typically, for an employment-based permanent resident, the
period of time is 5 years, along with a 2.5 year physical
presence requirement. For others, the permanent residence and
physical presence requirements may be less. And, there are of
course other eligibility criteria such as being of good moral
character, being able to read and write basic English, and several
There are many "pros" and perhaps for some
people, a few "cons" to naturalizing. One may want
to consider such things as the ability to sponsor certain relatives
for US permanent residence, there may be tax issues to consider,
survivor benefits, and lots of other things to that can affect this
important decision. In the end, however, having a right to
vote is a privilege that may outweigh all else.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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In our continuing series of reports, Charles ("Charlie") Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, shares his most recent analysis of current trends and future projections for the various immigrant preference categories with AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers' Association).
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