12/11/10

Taking an Oath

My husband became a naturalized citizen when he took an oath in a federal courtroom this week. I could write for days on the beauty, the emotions, and the reasons my husband decided to take this path, but this blog is mostly about what my children are learning. Homeschooling often works best when living life and believe me, they learned a lot about citizenship this week. Here are some of the things my kids now know that most Americans (in my experience) don't:


  • An alien is just someone who isn't from here. (My son's current favorite factoid)
  • Each country has its own rules as to how you can become a citizen.
  • Some countries give you citizenship if you are born there, others don't. The US does. Switzerland, for example, does not.
  • Most countries give you citizenship if your parents are citizens. The US does. This can lead to dual citizenship.
  • A "Green Card" isn't green. It used to be, but it's now white and looks like a regular ID.
  • You don't automatically get your green card (residency) or citizenship just because you marry a citizen. It takes a long time, tons of legal papers, and a lot of money. (I get this a lot. TV and the movies have really shaped the false perception that once married foreigners are "safe" from deportation. No way! We were a "cut-and-dry" case and it still took us over two years just to get his residency.)
  • People who are naturalized citizens are as much a citizen as someone who was born here except they cannot become the president.
Over fifty people from over 20 different countries were sworn in this day.
  • Citizens here do not have to carry identification to prove they are citizens, so most of the naturalized citizens will get a passport just in case they have to prove it anyway. After years of making sure to always carry his residency card, my husband just feels incomplete without something.
  • Passports say with which country you have citizenship and are valid forms of ID.
  • You can have more than one passport if you have multiple citizenships.
  • Once you are a US citizen, the US does not count your other citizenship(s) any longer unless you are a minor.
So, how many did you know? I know I learned a lot through this process and I have a very high respect for immigrants. What most of us were just born with, they choose.

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