Immigrants Eligible to Become U.S. Citizens
In a report titled “Estimates of the Lawful Permanent Resident Population in the United States and the Subpopulation Eligible to Naturalize: 2015-2019,” created for the Department of Homeland Security, Bryan Baker found that there are 9,130,000 (9.13 million) legal permanent residents or Green Card holders who are potentially eligible to apply for citizenship.
Every immigrant lives under a shadow of uncertainty given the policies of the current administration. One of the benefits of US citizenship is that it gives you the right to vote. If nine million green card holders became citizens and voted for immigration reform, it could make a huge difference to the way that immigration issues and immigrants are treated by the government. You can make a difference.
If you apply for citizenship now, you would not be able to vote in the current election in November 2020. But your vote can make a big difference in future elections, both in your state and at the national level.
Reasons to Become U.S. Citizens
The report also says “More than 25 percent of the LPRs [Legal Permanent Residents] who were potentially eligible to naturalize in 2019 were from Mexico…”. Imagine the difference that more than two million votes could make to how the border issues and “the wall” are handled! If all the Mexican Permanent Residents became US citizens, they could have a major say in how these issues were handled in the US.
There are several more reasons why, if you have a Green Card, you should apply for US citizenship now:
- There is going to be a fee increase for processing citizenship applications from October 2, 2020. The fees will nearly double, from $640 to $1,170! Time is short, but you can still make it if you apply now.
- With the pandemic increasing the backlog of citizenship applications with the USCIS, you will have more time than the approximately 12 months that it takes to process an application. You can use this time to prepare well for your citizenship test, which many people think is difficult, but is actually easy!
- If you have children below the age of 18, they will automatically become citizens when you naturalize as a U.S. citizen. That’s a big cost saving again. They wouldn’t have to apply for naturalization. Since they derive citizenship through you, they can apply for U.S. passports as proof of their citizenship.
- If you become a citizen and your spouse has a Green Card, they need not wait for the usual 5 years to become eligible to apply for citizenship and can become a citizen in just 3 years.
If nothing else, consider the cost of applying for citizenship today versus a few days from now. Nearly double! Also, the cost of renewing your Green Card every 10 years, with the risk of an expensive replacement in case of loss or damage, is going to be higher in the long run. Immigration application processing fees have constantly been increasing, and you never know when they will increase again.
US citizenship gives you the right to vote, the right to travel without a visa to more than 180 countries, the right to federal jobs, federal benefits, college assistance, and the right to run for certain elected federal, state, and local offices. Most importantly, it gives you peace of mind at an uncertain time.
Apply now, while both the fees and the time to prepare for the citizenship test are in your favor. October 2, 2020, and the fee increase are not too far away! Don’t delay.