Many of the immigrants who come to live in Riverside County enjoy the privileges of holding a green card, which allows them to stay in the United States. However, having full U.S. citizenship affords even more benefits than having permanent resident status and many choose to pursue that goal.
Applications for naturalization typically increase during election years and 2016 was no exception. A contentious campaign, combined with a recent increase in application fees, served to send the number of applicants last year up to almost 1 million. Since he was sworn in, President Donald Trump has made cracking down on immigration a key part of his policy, issuing controversial executive orders, including one barring refugees and immigrations from certain countries from entering the U.S.
Most immigrants must be green card holders for five years before being eligible for full citizenship. Many people who were previously content with their green card status or who were putting off naturalization are now being spurred into action out of fear that tighter enforcement measures may mean that they will be forced to leave the country. Unlike green card holders, U.S. citizens enjoy many legal protections, such as not risking deportation if they are convicted of a crime. Citizens also are able to vote in elections, hold American passports and have access to better job opportunities.
Immigrants who wish to enjoy all that citizenship has to offer will need to complete the naturalization process. Those who are looking to become U.S. citizens may wish to contact an experienced attorney.
Source: CBS News, “Amid Trump unease, green card holders rush to nail down citizenship,” Feb. 21, 2017