American Permanent Residents seem to be applying for citizenship in massive numbers. A number of factors have caused this rise, including Presidential Order 13768, which few people are aware of due to the lack of publicity surrounding it. Any foreign person in this country with a criminal record of any kind is a priority for removal. Many foreign people are traveling to visit aging parents or to take vacations, only to discover that they are unable to re-enter the United States. Simply speaking, even a charge for shoplifting can keep a Permanent Resident or visa holder out of the United States, despite the fact that their children, careers, and homes are here. Expungements, contrary to popular belief, do not count for immigration purposes.
Permanent Residents with criminal records should file an immigration waiver in order to have any offense ‘waived’, or overlooked. Absent a winning waiver, a simple traffic stop is all it takes to turn someone’s life upside down.
One would hope that love of country is the reason people apply for citizenship, but there are many other benefits to being a US citizen:
- Voting is only possible for a citizen.
- If someone wants to sponsor their parents, for a Green Card, it is only possible if the petitioning party is a citizen.
- If someone wants to sponsor a foreign spouse or child, the procedure is much faster if the petitioner is a citizen.
- If someone falls in love with a foreign person and wants to petition the person for a fiancé/ee visa, it is only possible if the petitioner is a citizen.
- If someone is seeking to spend extended time outside the country with aging parents or on a retirement vacation, it is safer to do so as a citizen as Permanent Residence can be lost in a year.
There are a number of reasons people apply for U.S. Citizenship, and now more than ever, people are filing in order to protect their ability to remain in the United States with their families and their lives.