Amid the constant siege of immigrants in some conservative circles, President Barack Obama has launched a national campaign to urge foreigners to obtain US citizenship.
The campaign coincides with the “Citizenship Day and Constitution” and contrasts with the continuous anti-immigrant rhetoric of some presidential candidates, as was reflected last night at the second Republican presidential debate in California, according to pro-immigrant activists.
Committing to Citizenship
The campaign is a group project from “Civic Nation” to encourage immigrants who qualify to “take an important step in the American path and commit” to obtaining citizenship, said the White House.
Rights and Freedoms
The president highlighted the benefits of US citizenship, including access to better employment opportunities and to “rights and freedoms” enjoyed by other Americans. “This is not about changing who you are but it is about adding a new chapter to your journey as an American citizen, and ours as a nation of immigrants,” Obama said in a speech.
Immigrants Obtaining Citizenship
Obama urged immigrants to spread the word among friends, family and colleagues about the benefits of citizenship, claiming that with the help of immigrants, the United States may be “even stronger”.
Who Is Eligible to Apply For Citizenship?
According to official estimates, there are about 13.3 million legal residents in the US, of which 8.8 million are eligible to apply for citizenship which usually requires five consecutive years of legal stay in the country, among other requirements.
Obama’s Program For Cit
The citizenship campaign that Obama offers includes a rapprochement with organizations representing immigrants and refugees, and has the participation of local governments, the business sector and non-profit entities.
Many Are Gaining Citizenship
Just this week, these groups have organized more than 70 events to promote citizenship while, in parallel, the federal government held 200 ceremonies for the oath of more than 36,000 new citizens.
The Committocitizenship.org Website From Obama
The president urged immigrants to obtain more information on the website of the “committocitizenship.org” campaign, which also outlines the benefits of citizenship, such as better employment opportunities, the right to vote the federal government, and to apply for permanent residence for other immediate family members, facilitating family reunification.
Campaign For New Americans
Other civic groups such as the “Campaign for New Americans” also recall that the document citizenship not only facilitates the integration of immigrants but also protects them from deportation because under current laws, certain criminal convictions can cause expulsion of legal residents.
Automatic Citizenship For Children
In addition, children under 18 with permanent residence, can automatically obtain citizenship when their parents handle their naturalization. Currently, legal residents have restrictions when traveling outside the country, they can not be out more than a year, and do not have the protection of US consulates or embassies if facing a crisis.
Citizens Earn More Money
And, as a group, naturalized citizens earn between 50% and 70% more than those who have not yet decided to obtain citizenship, they also have a lower unemployment rate and are less likely to live below the poverty line.
What Does the Obama Citizenship Program Do?
Among other community and financial services, the center will offer assistance with paperwork for citizenship, civics classes, and a microlending program that will provide loans of about $700 to complete the citizenship process.