April 26, 2006
What Does it Take to be a U.S. Citizen?
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue sure loves the Lord - last week, he signed a few bills allowing Georgia's schools to teach Bible classes, and their courthouses to display the Ten Commandments. But his love of God and man doesn't extend to those born outside our borders. While he had his pen out, he also took the opportunity to sign the harshest immigration law of any state, denying most state services to undocumented immigrants. And other states are looking to get in on the anti-immigrant action, too.
Luckily, our President understands the plight of our lowest-paid workers, admitting on Monday that it's just not "realistic" to deport 11 million people back to their countries of origin - especially when we have crappy jobs that need doing right here. Instead, he's hoping Congress can find a way for these folks to work their way toward becoming proud U.S. citizens.
Obviously, in these uncertain times™, we don't let just anyone become a citizen of our United States. So, what kind of people would we welcome as fellow citizens? A quick trip over to the Citizenship and Immigration website - now under the Department of Homeland Security - proved quite instructional. In order to apply for naturalization, you must be over 18 and have lived in the country for five years (or three, if married to a citizen). Fair enough. You must love the Constitution. Well, sure - who doesn't? Then we come to the sticky part....exhibiting " good moral character."
And what constitutes "good moral character"? Obviously, you can't have been convicted of a crime recently - including gambling or drug related offenses, prostitution, or other "moral turpitude." (sorry, GOP!) You also can't be a polygamist (sorry, Bill Paxton!) or a habitual drunkard (sorry, Amy's Robot!).
Good so far? You'll also need to demonstrate that you can comprehend and write English. At your interview, an immigration official will ask you to demonstrate this by writing a sample sentence of his or her choice. But don't worry - USCIS helpfully offers some samples to practice, such as:
All people want to be free.
America is the land of freedom.
Many people come to America for freedom.
People in America have the right to freedom.
Many people have died for freedom.
Prefer something more related to everyday life? How about writing 100 times:
The man wanted to get a job.
It is a good job to start with.
I go to work everyday.
The children wanted a television.
She needs to buy some new clothes.
They are very happy with their car.
They buy many things at the store.
Of course, why limit our future citizens? Amy and I came up with a few other suggestions, including:
How will he pay for the doctor?
Three dollars an hour is a fair wage.
They enlist their sons in the Army.
Any other suggestions to help our nation's undocumented workers become full participants in our great society?
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