July 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
Being conferred American citizenship is a tremendous honor and no easy accomplishment. There are major reasons as to why certain immigrants want to get the highest immigration status in the US. But there are other who, though eligible are satisfied just being a permanent resident.
Why American citizenship ?
The desire to get benefits, for oneself or one’s family, is a major reason immigrants give for taking the initiative towards naturalization. The desire to go for economic opportunities, to advance one’s position and to live in the greater comfort of the American way of life is another major motive behind going for naturalization.
The third reason why immigrants go for citizenship is to fight discrimination and ensure equal treatment. Only very few say they want to become citizens to qualify to vote. Voting and civic engagement may receive high priority as civic values, but they do not endorse high on the open-ended list of reasons for becoming a citizen.
The urge to unite with family or to help other family members who want to come to the United States.
What stops immigrants from going for citizenship
Some immigrants are not yet eligible. Some don’t have time. The cost involved while filing the application for citizenship is another major factor. Some do not meet the standard English requirements. And many do not know how to go about the process.
While filing the US citizenship application, one needs to pass an English and Civics test. It is language skill and not educational level, that is the barrier. Rates of naturalization are strongly related to one’s English language ability. The test is disproportionately a test of English ability. To have knowledge of US civics and government, one need not have a high school or college education. This knowledge ca n easily gained by persons of almost all educational levels.
Not having formal education is not the barrier to passing the citizenship test. The Cost (submission fee) is another factor that is a barrier in the naturalization process. Another significant reason for not pursuing naturalization is that many do not intend to remain in the United States forever. Ease of reverse migration and proximity to one’s home country allows immigrants to maintain their distinct culture and language to a greater extent.