If you live in the United States, you understand how hard it is to stay away from politics. Especially since political decisions effect every single aspect of our lives.
Today, this is even more obvious because there are many bills out and their implementation could impact every single one of us; Health reform, Immigration reform, and Social Security reform to name a few. However, unless one has the right to vote, his/her opinion remains just a wish, because they cannot vote on the issues.
In the United States, like almost everywhere else, it is not enough to be residing legally and permanently in the country. Unless you are a US citizen, you don’t have the right to vote.
From this point of view, the conversation about an LPR getting his/her citizenship becomes very crucial, especially now! Why? Because next year we have the last congressional elections before President Obama finishes his second term. And why this is important? Because President Obama favors an immigration reform and the immigration reform needs a favorable Congress (both the Senate and the House) and a favorable president to become a reality.
As you already know, President Obama made comprehensive immigration reform his priority. He called on Congress to act. The Senate listened to the call of history and passed a fair bill that included an up-to-date reform to business immigration and investment immigration laws, and also offered a fair solution to the 12 million undocumented people living in the US. However, the House of Representatives went against the American call and the call of history and failed to act. The result: no immigration reform last year.
That is why it becomes important for you, my permanent resident reader, to become a naturalized US citizen, so that you can use your right to vote to change the course of history in your state.
Who can qualify to become a US citizen?
In order to qualify for US citizenship, a person must be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) for at least five years, a LPR for three years if filed through a US spouse or investment, or a LPR for one year if he/she served in the armed forces. They must also be a person of good moral character and be able to pass the Civics & English tests.
Many LPRs do not file for naturalization because they are afraid to fail the English test. Although it is very important for a person to know how to read and write English, there are exceptions to this requirement.
The first exception is due to the LPR’s age and the length of residency.
- If the person is 50 or older and has been resident for 20 years, or is 55 or older and has been LPR for 15 years, he/she can be excused from taking the English test.
The second exception is due to medical or psychological condition.
- If the person has suffered in the past or still suffering from a condition that can cause a learning disability, he/she can contact a doctor and be evaluated on his/her ability to learn English.
Next year Immigration Reform needs everyone to vote for a Congress that favors the reform. Don’t let your learning disability be a hurdle to become a US citizen and to vote. Contact an immigration attorney to evaluate your situation.
Attorney Nash Fayad is the Founder and President of Fayad Law, P.C.
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