News / USA

Newest US Citizens Weigh in on Immigration Policy

Immigrants from 47 countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens in New York City on Thursday.  Their backgrounds and views are as diverse as their cultures and countries of origin. There is a wide range of opinions among America's newest citizens on U.S. immigration issues.

There was mixture of joy and solemnity in a downtown Manhattan auditorium on Thursday, as Judge Robert Allen Katzman led 125 new Americans and their families in America's Pledge of Allegiance.

The diversity in the room was mirrored by the varying attitudes toward immigrants, especially those who came to the United States illegally.  Sandra Miller from Trinidad and Tobago favors tighter border controls. "Because have more immigrants coming here illegally, rather than going through the system like I did.  I don't see it as being fair as you have all these illegal immigrants, and I had to work so hard to become an immigrant and now a citizen.  So I think it really needs to be revised and tightened," he said.

Yvonne Malcolm, originally from Jamaica, is opposed to a new immigration law in Arizona, a southwestern state which shares a border with Mexico.  It requires police to check the documents of anyone they stop or detain and suspect of being in the country illegally.

YM:  People shouldn't have to be walking around with papers. You shouldn't be discriminated against because of the color of our skin.

VOA: I don't think the color of your skin is what they're worried about do you?  YM: I think that's part of it.  Because you look like a Mexican, so maybe you come across the border?

Haddi Jatouwaggeh of Gambia says U.S. immigration authorities are not discriminatory, just overwhelmed.  "I know there is [are] heavy caseloads, so the cases just keep piling up," Jatouwaggeh said.

On the other hand, said Jatouwaggeh, she doesn't believe that citizenship should be granted to just anybody asking for it. "They should prove they want to be here.  They should be paying taxes.  You should be contributing to the American system.  I think it's okay to become a citizen.  People do work hard for it.  It's not like is given to you easily," she said.

Some pathways to citizenship are easier than others, says Maria Francesca Nespoli [fran CHESS skuh NAY' spoh lee], a new American from Italy.  She began her journey to citizenship with a foreign student visa after enrolling in Columbia University.

MFN: "… and slowly, patiently I finally earned my citizenship.  But for people who are not going to come here as graduate students, there should be some avenues that they could easily enough take it so they don't have to go illegal.  I don't think [anybody] wants to be an illegal [anywhere].  Since we know there are illegal immigrants, what do they do?  How do we make them legal with scaring them away?

VOA So you think immigrants bring a lot of strength to the country?  MFN: They certainly do.  In my office everyone comes from somewhere else.  This is the beauty of this country!

Indeed, while most people - policymakers and Americans alike - agree on the need for some immigration reform, there is also widespread agreement that U.S. citizenship is desirable.  In the first half of fiscal year 2010, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received nearly 334,000 applications for American citizenship, of which nearly 287,000 were approved.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid