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The process of immigrants becoming U.S. citizens

Over 9,000 people were sworn in as United States citizens in ceremonies in Florida and throughout the country during the first week of July. Sites such as Mount Rushmore, the White House and the U.S.S. Midway welcomed people from Afghanistan, India and Iraq. At Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, 102 people were sworn in on July 4. As one newly minted citizen proclaimed, it was akin to getting married on New Year's Eve.

For many, the journey to become a United States citizen is a long and arduous one. The story of one 52-year-old man who was attacked by both Shias and Sunnis before leaving Iraq for a Syrian refugee camp is a typical one. Many people who fled to the United States did so to escape a life of poverty or war in their home countries.

Others decided to become fully naturalized citizens after spending many years having to live under visa rules that limited how much time they could be outside of the country for. A woman who immigrated from Egypt stayed for 33 years after graduating from college, and she was not eager to live in her former home country as her family members now reside in Virginia. She can now visit her former home for as long as she wants without risking her ability to live or work in America.

The process of becoming a naturalized United States citizen can be a lengthy one. Once an immigrant has officially become a citizen, he or she is entitled to all the rights granted to any other citizen under the Constitution. To increase the chances of successfully navigating the system, it may be worthwhile to consult with an immigration law attorney.

Source: USA Today, "On July 4th, the journey to U.S. citizenship becomes a dream come true", Oren Dorell, July 04, 2014

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