A Story of Legal Immigration

With all the time I spend on reviews and giveaways I don’t share many personal things on my blog, but with the political issue of immigration being very prevalent in the media at the moment, I thought I might share my views on it.

I am an immigrant.  A legal one that is.  So how many are thinking now..”Wow her English is very good!”?  That’s because people immigrate from many countries, including Canada.

My story starts over eleven years ago.  My husband was looking for a new job, and through circumstances that only God could have arranged, found himself interviewing for a position here in the United States.  He was offered the job, but…there was a catch.

See the government doesn’t just allow anybody into the country to live (well at least not if you want a paycheck that you have to pay taxes on), and so the company that wanted to hire him, first had to advertise the job internally and externally, and prove that there weren’t any eligible candidates for that position here in the United States that wanted the job.

After that was accomplished, you’d think it would be pretty easy peasy, correct?  No that was just the beginning of the journey my friends.

My husband was granted a one year visa to work.  And my daughter and I resident visas for one year.  That means I was unable to work.  I was not able to obtain a Social Security card, and our driver’s licenses were only valid for a year as per the dates on our visas.

So what happens when your driver’s license is going to expire and you don’t have a renewed visa yet?  Well that means you have to hop in your car, and drive to the nearest Canadian border crossing to have them issue one for you on the spot.  Hoping they do, because if they don’t, well you aren’t going back home.  (Fortunately ours was granted!)

After the second one year visa, my husband was granted a three year working visa.  And my daughter and I three year resident visas.  With this visa though I was allowed to apply for a work permit.  The caveat with this…I also had to have ‘parole documents’ which would allow me to leave and enter the country.  If I didn’t carry these documents with me when traveling outside the borders, I would not be allowed back in.

While living here on our three year visas, we applied for our Green Cards.  Which would grant us landed immigrant status, and make us permanent residents.

After five years of having a Green Card, one can apply to become a US Citizen.  When we were eligible we decided to wait one more year, mostly because we already had an international vacation booked, and we didn’t know how long it would take for the process to be complete.

So when we arrived home from our cruise in April, we mailed in our paperwork to become US Citizens.

Keep in mind, all of these events took sheets and sheets of paperwork for all three of us, and every filing costs hundreds of dollars.  Fingerprinting and pictures, and medical exams, and waiting.

Yesterday the process took me one step closer to becoming a US Citizen.  I had my interview with a local USCIS officer to recommend me for citizenship. I walked in proudly carrying my Patriotic Tote Bag.  (I specifically had this bag made for this occasion and for when my Girl Scout Troop goes to the Ice Cream Capital of the World on Saturday, but that’s another blog post and I digress…)

And yes, if you are unaware or are wondering the rumors are true, those applying for citizenship must take a test.  There are 100 questions you need to study, along with a reading and writing portion.  If you’re interested in seeing if you’d pass a citizenship test go to uscis.gov and click on The Naturalization Test, and then on The Naturalization Self Test.  It will give you a bit of an idea of the kinds of questions one gets asked.  Of course, it’s not as easy as multiple choice, they’re pure question/answer based, but it’s amazing how many Americans that have their citizenship by birth, can’t answer a lot of the questions.

I did pass (hooray me!), and now I wait again.  Another two months until the swearing in ceremony where I officially hand over my Green Card and receive a Naturalization Certificate instead.  At which point we can file paperwork for our daughter to become a citizen.  And then we need to get passports…and then I think…we’re done.

So what I’m trying to get at from sharing this with you, is yes obviously I’m FOR immigration, I mean I am an immigrant.  My daughter has lived in the United States nearly 5x longer than she did in Canada.  I also support any and all measures that those in government are passing and trying to pass to halt illegal immigration in its steps.

We played by the rules, we filled out the paperwork, paid the dues, and waited, as it should be.  When I hear talks of amnesty or grandfathering in, it does ruffle my feathers.  But in two months, I’ll be an American and the next November, you’ll find me at the polling station, voting for the representatives that I feel understand the work it took my family to become citizens.

8 thoughts on “A Story of Legal Immigration

  1. Congrats on passing the test! I'm a political and history junkie, so I'd pass the test with flying colors. Maybe it's easy for me to say, but I think even born citizens should have to pass a written or oral test to vote. If a person lacks the ability to learn this stuff and explain it in his own words, he has no business marking a ballot. It would change the political calculus a bit, so that will never happen. Too many of our civil "servants" rely on ignorance to get away with what they do. Which could be why they're so keen on illegal immigration, come to think of it. A whole new populace that couldn't care less about the rule of law or the Constitution! Awesome!

    Happy Constitution Day to you!

  2. awesome Tammy! I am all for LEGAL immigration. It should be done legally to become a citizen into any country that you were not born in. It takes work, but nothing that is worth it in life is easy or free. I will welcome anyone who takes the time to do it the right way!

  3. Congratulations on passing your test. I have a probably stupid question. When you become and American citizen do you have to give up your Canadian citizenship or are you not a citizen of both?

  4. Nolie – that's actually a good question.

    When you become a citizen of the United States you give up loyalty to all other countries. So in the eyes of the United States, we will be United States citizens only.

    That being said, the Canadian Government still will recognize us as Canadian Citizens. So in their eyes we have dual citizenship.

  5. Congratulations. Isn't sad that you now know more about the u.s than those of us born here. Can't wait to hear about your ice cream trip.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story! I found it very interesting, and I think it's a great idea as Cindy said that people should have to pass a test to vote. People are very uninformed. Sometimes I think it's the most ignorant people who are the most vocal in the media.
    Anyway, good luck with the rest of your citizenship process 🙂

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