Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dual citizenship

Wednesday, 30th of May 2012, I will gain dual citizenship. That is, I have Brazilian citizenship - that I have not resigned, nor intend to - and will gain the American one.
Many people do not understand this matter properly. When I talk to people about the citizenship process, they stare at me and ask, "But were you not a citizen already?"
No, people. Yikes. Citizenship is a serious thing.
Let's get this straight.
When I entered this country, I came in with an exchange student visa - a J1. The J1 is a visa that entitles you to enter and leave the U.S. for a year, plus a year's bonus stay without the right to multiple entries. This provided that you maintain the status of exchange student.
At the end of my bonus year, Dean and I were already dating, and several people had suggested I did my graduate studies here. Having nothing to lose, I started the paperwork, returned to Brazil and got a student visa - an F1. The F1 gives you the right to enter and leave the U.S. for five years, provided that you maintain your student status.
At the end of the second yearas an F1, Dean and I were married. Now I was the wife of an American, and the U.S. thinks (with a mind of a donkey of the people that make the immigration laws) that a person married to an American citizen must have the intention to live in this country permanently. It does not occur to them that maybe, and just maybe, I just want to finish my degree and move with my new husband, back to my home country. No. Wives/husbands of Americans obviously have to give up their original visas (ie, temporary stay) immediately and apply for permanent residence - the famous Green Card. What do I call that? Presumption, if you want to know my opinion. They presume that if you marry an American, you obviously want to live nowhere else other than America. Who are you, I ask, to think for me?
There are scores of ways for a person to get a Green Card. Marriage to a citizen is the fastest of them. But, in short, anyone who has a legitimate reason to establish residency in the U.S. can enter the Green Card application. We must have good background, and never have attacked the U.S. government. It also requires that the greencard-holder be residing in the U.S. for six months plus a day every year. Right! This is a residence permit. If you do not reside, why do you need the document? But to speaking English and knowing history are unnecessary things to obtain a green card.
A person who has obtained a green card in the U.S. can live their whole lives here without being bothered. For, as the official name says, a green card gives its holder permanent residence.
A U.S. resident, has all the rights stated in the Bill of rights. Freedom of expression, of worship, of assembly, to bear arms, to make petitions to the government, having a fair trial, among others.
To recap - anyone with legitimate reasons to establish residency in the U.S. can apply for the Green Card. And you can spend your whole life here with a Green Card.
GREEN CARD is NOT CITIZENSHIP !! It is not the same. Understand this, guys. Citizenship is a serious thing. Can you imagine if the government went around giving out citizenship to everyone that sets foot on the country? That means now you are also offering these people diplomatic protection and the right to influence in the political life of your country. A bunch of foreign nationals, telling nationals what to do witrh their country. 
Let me explain. Citizens have certain rights and duties that residents simply do not have. For example, citizens can vote and be voted. Citizens must serve in public jury when called. To become a citizen, he must prove that he can speak the language of the country and has a basic knowledge of American history. To gain citizenship, you also have to have some years with a Green Card.
After a few years with a Green Card, you can reach citizenship. Obviously, you do not need it. But you can. Citizenship gives you many privileges, and I do not have to renounce my citizenship natural, I have not seen reason to wait. Green Card has the expiration date and must be renewed every 10 years. Citizenship is forever. With citizenship I have the right to participate politically, but not with a green card. The Green Card can be revoked at any time by the government. Citizenship may not.
So yeah. It was the best way. That is why on Wednesday I become U.S. citizen.

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