Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1.2 The Path to Citizenship. Who are America’s Citizens? The U.S. Constitution establishes two ways to become a citizen: by birth and, for foreigners,"— Presentation transcript:
Who are America’s Citizens? The U.S. Constitution establishes two ways to become a citizen: by birth and, for foreigners, by a legal process called naturalization. You would automatically be an American citizen if you were born in the U.S., an American territory, or on a U.S. military base overseas.
continued You can also claim citizenship if your parents are both citizens or one parent is a citizen who has lived in the U.S. Children born on American soil to non-U.S. citizens also acquire U.S. citizenship, except for children of foreign diplomats. A child born abroad to American parents may hold dual citizenship.
continued Noncitizens, or aliens, may become naturalized citizens. More than half a million immigrants – people who move permanently to a new country – gain American citizenship each year. Americans keep their citizenship for life, unless they choose to give it up.
continue Aliens must file a Declaration of Intention with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). They may apply for citizenship after living in the U.S. for 5 years (3 years for aliens married to citizens). Then, after an interview with an INS agent, the applicant must take a citizenship exam. If the INS decides to grant citizenship, the new citizen pledges allegiance to this country in a ceremony.
Aliens in America The U.S. restricts the number of immigrants who can enter the country. Highest priority goes to the relatives of U.S. citizens and people with needed skills.
continued Many aliens live in the U.S. illegally. Most come looking for a better life. Without friends and family here, life is hard. Laws forbid hiring illegal aliens, so work is hard to find. They live in fear that the gov’t will discover and deport them – send them back to their own country.
continued Legal aliens live like most Americans. They hold jobs and pay taxes. They do not have full political rights. They may not vote, run for office or work in most gov’t jobs. They must carry identification cards.