Thu, Feb 7th, 07:50 PM

CitizenshipThere was a time when naturalization was not available to foreign nationals of all races. Beginning in the late 18th century, naturalization was only available to free white immigrants. Through a series of social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, the law changed. In 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act established that all individuals of all races would be eligible for naturalization. However, restrictions remained on the basis of country of origin. In 1965, the Immigration Reform Act lifted those restricitions.

Rewards of Citizenship

Citizenship has many rewards, the main one being that you receive full protection under the U.S. constitution. The following are some of the specific rewards:

Citizenship: Sponsor

The Immigration and Nationality Act established that U.S. immigration law should focus on family reunification. U.S. citizens get priority when seeking to bring a family member to the U.S. A citizen can petition for a Green Card for both immediate relatives (spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, and a parent if the U.S. citizen is over 21) and non-immediate relatives (unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters.)

If a U.S. Citizen has a child born outside of the U.S., the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.

Citizenship: Passport

A passport gives a passport-holder the permission to travel to a foreign country. Only U.S. Citizens are eligible for travel with a U.S. passport. It therefore serves as proof of U.S. citizenship. In 1856, Congress passed the first law establishing that passports could only be issued to American citizens.

Citizenship: Voting

The Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to vote to all U.S. citizens:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United State or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.

This amendment, which was ratified in 1870, addressed previous legislation that prevented any citizen who was not a white male from voting.

Citizenship: Jobs

U.S. citizens can not only participate in government through voting, but if they wish, they can participate directly as an employee of the state. Most federal and state jobs are only available to U.S. citizens. These jobs include positions as elected officials since most offices require U.S. citizenship.