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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghettoi
X
Kane Farabaugh
August 30, 2014 1:20 AM
When the Nazi army moved into 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 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 Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into 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 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 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.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid