Earning the Right to American Citizenship?

Most people seem supportive of the concept of ‘earned citizenship’ – meaning that we must fulfill a set amount of requirements to obtain a green card and an American passport.

The DREAM Act has several teleological components that we must meet in order to qualify for legal residence. These are:

  • we must have come here before we were 16 and are under 30,
  • we must have lived here continuously for five years,
  • we must graduate from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED
  • we must have good moral character with no criminal record and
  • we must attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years.

Only if we meet all stipulations, do we get legal residency. And even then, processing citizenship would take anywhere from 3-5 years or more.

Do you think these stipulations are fair or restrictive? Should we be made to do more in order to prove our love and loyalty to this country and that we belong here and contribute to American society?

To become an U.S. Citizen, immigrants have to sit a ‘citizenship test,’ a test that I have seen many fellow American students fail in class. Should their birthright citizenship be taken away from them?

What about DREAMers that do not necessarily identify as American and do not believe in ‘loyalty’ to the nation? In an ever globalizing world of McDonalds, international holidays, languages, Facebook/Myspace, the bond of nationality is eroding. And I do not see that as a tragedy.

Today, we self-identify in so many ways-I am a homosexual, a woman, a student, an Indian, a tech-geek, a daughter, an atheist, a civil rights activist, an aspiring lawyer, and so much more than an undocumented immigrant or ‘illegal alien.’ If society can accept so many identities without placing teleological components to citizenship, why are the undocumented and documented migrants put to the test? After all, we do not need to be alike in order to co-exist.

What do you think about the concept of earned citizenship?

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