Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Dream of Many

The journey to a new homeland for the first homesteaders included the ability to persevere. Southeast Community College Christopher Newman discusses the difficulties, the joys, and the perseverance needed to obtain U.S. citizenship by modern homesteaders.

By Christopher Newman
Southeast Community College
What if your country was in complete devastation? Planes flying above, bombs exploding, gun shots throughout the night. Can you imagine the state of emotion you would be in? How about if your country was ruled by a communist government and you had to dress or think a certain way? Would you feel safe, or want to remain in that country if you had a difference in opinion?

Most of us have live here in the United States of America our entire lives and have not had to experience what it is like to live inside of a country with communism or active war. Many times a great land to escape to is here the United States, popular throughout the world for its freedoms. Through research and study I have learned it is not all that easy to move to the U.S.

Many requirements and procedures have to take place not only to enter the U.S. but much more is to be done in order to become a full citizen, people everyday travel to America, the land of the free, to seek opportunity and freedom. The process can be a daunting task. It is not as easy as purchasing a plane ticket, and moving into the U.S.

Entering the United States of America is not very easy, much is to be done. When you are born here in the United States you are a natural born citizen of the U.S. and issued a social security card. We are issued a social security number for efficiency when we are born, but the constitution does not define a “natural born citizen.” The fourteenth amendment in the United States Constitution states that birth in the U.S. entitles one to citizenship. Historians believe the way natural born citizen came to be was from a letter written from John Jay to George Washington in 1787 (Heard, 1987, p. 123).

A Social Security cards does not mean you are a U.S. citizen. The Social Security Administration began issuing social security numbers in 1936. The reason social security cards began to issue was in turn of the 1935 social security act. The act was established to create unemployment benefits, aid to states for various health, and welfare programs. According to The Social Security Administration social security cards are not only given to natural born citizens but temporary workers as well. After entering the U.S. an immigrant is issued a status, and depending on the status can be given a variety of documents.

Learning the history of the United States of America, the cost of becoming a citizen, physical examination, and educational training can be exhausting. Most of us learn this great nation’s history through the education process beginning at a young age. What if you had to learn the history of the U.S. in English in a small amount of time? Although the United States has no official language immigrants are required to be able to speak, read, write, and hold conversation in English in order to become a permanent resident.

When entering the U.S. you must undergo a physical, and be present in the U.S. for one year then apply for permanent residence. According to U.S. Immigration service’s (2008) if you are a refugee, you are required by law to apply for permanent resident status 1 year after being admitted to the United States. If you are an asylee, you are not required to apply for permanent resident status after being granted asylum for 1 year, but are encouraged to do so (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, 2008, p. 1)

Undergoing a physical is required to protect America as a country. Often other countries have disease and health issues that are communicable, but not a hazard in the U.S. In order to keep everyone safe immigrants, or visitors entering the U.S. are mandated to undergo a large amount of screening, including blood draws, and lab work, and questions about family medical history.

The cost of becoming a resident, visitor or citizen can vary depending on what you want to do. According to the United States Immigration Services fee chart (2008), the cost of application to work or stay in the U.S. cost total in cost anywhere from $320 to $1500 (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, 2007). Many services are offered for free. Classes and training on how to adapt to American life are a few of the free services provided.

After immigrants go through the process of entering the U.S. by saving money, learning required knowledge and examinations, they have to learn how to adapt to the U.S. Adapting to the U.S., along with fulfilling dreams to secure a better future for all can be cleansing. Many refugees and immigrants come to the U.S. not only for freedom but to fulfill their dreams of becoming successful. How well immigrants are adjusting to U.S. life is not very well known (Allen, 2006). Many immigrants advance in the economy by opening businesses, which provides success for all in the economy. The average length of time for complete successful adjustment is 10 to 20 years (Lewis, 2007, p. 1).

Fulfilling dreams in the U.S. are not only possible but proven: 350 of every 100,000 immigrants started businesses, compared to only 280 native-born Americans (Lewis, 2007, p. 1). Many immigrants come to the U.S. not only to secure better futures for their selves, but for generations to come as well.

A long journey has to take place in order to become a U.S. citizen. Many requirements and procedures had to take place not only to enter the U.S. but much more had to be done in order to become a full citizen. A participating immigrant must save money, work hard, and learn a great deal of information. Upon entering the U.S. you are granted freedom. Freedom from prosecution for belief, and free to become whatever your dreams may hold. No more worries of prosecution for your beliefs, no more mandatory opinions or punishment for otherwise.


Allen, J P. (2006). Yearbook of the association of Pacific coast geographers. University of Hawaii Press.

Heard, A. (1987). Presidential selection. Durham: Duke University Press.

Lewis, M. (2007 September). Six secrets of a successful immigrant. MSN Money. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from

Social Security Online. (n.d.) History and chronology. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from Social Security Online Web site:

Social Security Online. (n.d.) Social security numbers for non immigrants. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from Social Security Online Web site:

The Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 1, Clause 1.

United States Customs and Immigration Services. (2008, October 30). Forms fee schedule. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from

United States Government. (2008, August). I am a refugee or asylee. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from

No comments: