- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 01 February 2017
- Written by CLAUDIA DI MONDO | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
When I first moved to this country from a small town in the south of France called Gentilly, I never took into consideration how much the government has an effect on immigration. As a little girl, I did not understand the complications my mom faced when trying to become a citizen of the United States of America.
Now, immigration is playing a significant role in the news due to the policies created by our new President, Donald Trump. Trump has made it clear that his plan is to deport all illegal immigrants. He proposes that once the border is secured, there will be decisions made on any further action. Trump also plans to charge undocumented immigrants with legal felonies for being in the country illegally. He wants to raise the use of “expedited removals,” which allows officers to immediately force illegal immigrants out of the country.
Now more than ever, our immigration system needs to be reformed. State and local lawmakers have to look for solutions that promise fairness and opportunity for all Americans. Immigration policies have to offer a way to gain citizenship for all undocumented immigrants who live and work in this country.
When I moved here, my mom was struggling to keep our family here and paid thousands of dollars trying to become a citizen. At one point she considered getting ready to pack up our things and move back to the country we came from. Fortunately, I was lucky enough that my mom soon married a man who was a U.S citizen, so that our process was expedited to gain citizenship. However, this creates the question, why is becoming a legal citizen of the United States so tedious and costly?
When trying to become a citizen, fees can go up into the thousands. Most people would have to look for immigration lawyers who are extremely costly and can charge up to $15,000 or more. Applicants can spend years feeling helpless as they wait and hope for the process to grant them citizenship.
Only people who have family members already living in the U.S. as citizens, the rich, and skilled workers have a chance at becoming a citizen. However, even with all of those qualifications the process is still extremely tiresome and long.
First, the federal government has a quota of the certain number of people they can take from each country to make citizens. After applications are filled out, potential citizens must stay in the U.S and pass a test that includes 10 questions about American history and our government.
They also have to prove they are proficient in English. Because of how challenging it is to immigrate legally, many resort to immigrating illegally.
In an article called “Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Truly Would Be Great,” the Denver Post Editorial Board states, “Yes, a flood of refugees and the poor entering the country can harm economics, communities, crime and poverty rates.
But to resort to demonizing the newcomers, who often are fleeing real dangers as well as sever economic hardship-is simply not befitting this country, which was shaped and revitalized by generation of immigrants legal and illegal.” There has to be a safer and fairer way to handle our immigration laws.
It is time for Congress to fix our nation’s broken immigration system that hurts families and our economy. My family and I were lucky. However, this is not the case for millions of Americans that are still waiting for their right to citizenship. I now understand the struggles and complications that occurred when we tried immigrating here.
These innocent people and families should not have to struggle to become citizens because just like I was given the fortunate opportunity, others who want to move to America for a better life deserve the same as well. And that is why, now, more than ever, our government needs to create a reform policy that creates citizenship for the millions of immigrants currently contributing to our country.