Becoming a Citizen of the United States | Legal Thoughts

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts
Published September 19, 2022

Becoming a Citizen of the United States


Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

In this episode of Legal Thoughts the Attorney, Coleman Jackson, is being interviewed by Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Intern at Coleman Jackson, P.C. The topic of discussion is Becoming a Citizen of the United States.

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ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

Legal Thoughts. Coleman Jackson, Attorney and Counselor at Law

“Becoming a Citizen of the United States”

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas. Our topic today is: “How to lawfully hire temporary non-agricultural workers on an H2-B visa?  Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Johanna Powell, Tax Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant, Alexis Brewer, Tax Legal Assistant, and Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant.

On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Gladys Marcos will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important immigration topic, “Becoming a Citizen of the United States”

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

Hello everyone. My name is Gladys Marcos, and I am the immigration legal assistant at Coleman Jackson, P.C. Coleman, P.C. is a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based right here in Dallas, Texas.

Its been reported that over 9 million immigrants reside in United States as lawful permanent residents.  This mean that they have a lawful status and can remain in the U.S. and lawfully work in the U.S.  Lawful Permanent Residents are otherwise known as green card holders.  Green Cardholders are currently eligible to apply for the United States citizenship. It is widely known in the immigrant communities throughout the country that many immigrants never attempt to become citizens of the U.S.

Attorney, why does so many lawful permanent residents resist becoming citizens of the United States?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

Good morning, Gladys

Gladys you are absolutely right that millions of immigrants from around the world reside in the United States today as Lawful Permanent Residents. The statistics show that 13.1 million of lawful permanent residents live in United states on January 01, 2021.

As for the reason or reasons why, these immigrants do not become citizens; well, I suspect the reasons are as numerous as the number of immigrants who choose to remain in the LPR status although they are in compliance with the requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship. Let me rattle off some possible reasons as to why these 9 to 13 million or so immigrants choose to remain in the Lawful Permanent Resident status year after year after year:

Fear of the government (remember that many immigrants come here from repressive regimes where government officials and processes are not trusted by the citizenry leaving people leery about approaching the government in search of basic services);

Fear of the long scrutinizing process (remember these immigrants have experienced the intrusive, long, expensive process when they first obtained their Green Cards to begin with);

Fear of their failure on the citizenship exam;

Fear of their satisfying the citizenship requirements and language barriers.

Fear of losing their green card if the citizenship process goes wrong (remember many immigrants are coming from extremely unsettled countries and experiences and feel a lot of comfort receiving their green cards which gives them the lawful right to reside, work and raise families in the United States.  In other words they have obtained more security after becoming lawful permanent residents here than they have ever known at any time anywhere else on earth; so, they simply don’t feel the need to become U.S. citizens.  Citizenship is not a requirement for them to remain in the United States indefinitely.

Fear of losing the connection with their home-countries and its peoples, its traditions and its culture; and

Gladys there are probably many more reasons why immigrants with green cards choose not to become United States citizens

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

Thank you, Coleman. I agree the list can continue and varies by person. My next question for you is What is the importance of obtaining U.S. citizenship?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

There are numerous advantages to becoming a citizen of the United States.

  1. Certain criminal convictions, and even federal tax delinquencies over $10,000 could aggravated offensives under U.S.C. Chapter 8. Citizens of the United States cannot be deported, whereas, Lawful Permanent Residents can be deported from the United States regardless how long they have held that lawful status in the U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents should seriously consider this advantage when they contemplate whether they should naturalize. Let’s call this advantage, deportation proof.
  2. Green card holders with children under the age of 18 will derive their citizenship automatically when their LPR parents naturalize. Let’s calls this advantage, protection of minors.
  3. S. citizens can file immigration petitions for certain family members which are not available to lawful permanent resident, such as, parents, siblings and married adult sons and daughters. Green card holders cannot file immigrant petitions for any family member in these categories.  Let’s call this advantage, family unification.
  4. Some jobs in the United States are only available for U.S. citizens. These job opportunities might become available when an LPR naturalize.  Let’s call this advantage, expanded job opportunities.
  5. S. citizen can travel abroad without restrictions and seek help and protection at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. No such connections exist for LPR’s traveling the globe.  Let’s call this advantage, U.S. passport.
  6. S. citizens can vote in federal, state and local elections; thereby, choosing their representatives. Let’s call this advantage, the vote.
  7. S. citizens can hold federal, state and local office; thereby, fully participating in the United States government, with only a few offices out of bound to naturalized citizens. Let’s call this advantage, U.S. citizen.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

And when is a lawful permanent resident eligible to apply for the citizenship?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

It depends upon the path that the immigrant took to become a lawful permanent resident to begin with.  For now, let’s say that an immigrant is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after they have had their green card from three to five years.  Specific requirements and individual circumstances require conversations with immigrants and their families on a case-by-case basis in the privacy of our law firm.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

Thank you for those resources. My next question is what are the steps in the process to becoming a United States citizen?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

  1. You must check whether you are eligible to apply, which includes requirements like: read, write, and speak basic English, know the fundamentals of U.S. history and the form and principles of the U.S. government, be a person of good moral character, be willing to support the Constitution of the United States and be willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States to name a few.
  2. Once you have determined your eligibility for citizenship; Form N-400 must be prepared filed with USCIS along with all required supporting documentation with the required filing fees.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

How long does take for a lawful permanent resident to become a citizen of the United States once the N-400 is filed with USCIS?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

The N-400 processing times depend upon where are the Green Card Holder reside in United States. Some USCIS field offices who process these applications are faster than others. Currently, 80% of the cases filed in Dallas are completed within 15 months. Processing times can be very hard to predict; it requires a lot of patience.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

And a comment I would like to make is a large and growing percentage of the population in Texas is Hispanic.  A lot of Texas residence are lawful permanent residents who are in compliance with the requirements to become U.S. citizens. Spanish is spoken in many Latino homes, businesses and communities throughout Texas.  Well to be honest, one of the biggest fears about filing for U.S. citizenship is English language.  Failure of the citizenship test is a big fear in the Hispanic community.

What can be done to overcome these English language fears?  I mean fear of failing the test for the citizenship if they do not speak well English?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

Well, Gladys  I understand.  But let me make very clear here that the English language requirements on the citizenship exam calls for a very basic skill level.  There are many courses offered throughout this area where immigrants can learn basic English skills.  And most importantly as far as the citizenship exam is concerned, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provide study materials and resources for immigrants desiring to naturalize.  Many of these language courses and test can be assessed by going to USCIS website free of charge.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

When one becomes a citizen there are certain number of rights and responsibilities that come along with that, can you name some of those for us?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

Americans share the values of freedom, liberty, and equality. By applying for citizenship, you are demonstrating your commitment to United States and our form of government:

  • Support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
  • Participate in the democratic process by voting and running for public office.
  • Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
  • Participate in your local community.
  • Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Serve on a jury when called upon.
  • Defend the country if the need should arise.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

Coleman, you are an Attorney that supports immigration and diversity, what do you want to share with all our subscribers about this topic?

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

That is a brough question. Let me answer it this way: I am an attorney and I do support immigrants and diversity.  Look, people have been immigrating since the beginning of time for all kinds of reasons in search of a better life or perceived better life for themselves and their families.  We all should be kind and show compassion to immigrants because we are all immigrants on our LORD God Almighty’s earth.

We are passing through along with fellow travelers to whom we owe the duty of love. New immigrants may be coming to where you are at the moment, but, none of us should plan to stay here forever.  Today’s focus on division is extremely short-sighted which is functionally blindness.  Let the light shine.

INTERVIEWER: Gladys Marcos, Immigration Legal Assistant

Attorneys thank you for this clear and very important presentation on becoming a citizen of the United States of America.  Many Lawful Permanent Residents are very interested in this interesting topic. For now, thanks for sitting with me and answering my questions today concerning the path of becoming a United States citizen!

Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast.  Everybody take care!  And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts Podcast from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, Dallas, Texas 75206.

English callers:  214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432 |Portuguese callers: 214-272-3100

ATTORNEY: Coleman Jackson

This is the end of Legal Thoughts for now.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about: “Becoming a Citizen of the United States.”

If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Stay tune!  Watch for a new Legal Thoughts Podcast in about two weeks.  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

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