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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More