Where were you born? Where do you live now? Are there others who live around you, go to your school, or play on your soccer team who were born in a different country? They may look different than you, but maybe not. They may speak differently, but maybe not. Maybe you know someone who was born here, but their parents were born in a different country before moving here.
An immigrant is someone who moves from the country where they were born to a new country. They may become a permanent resident of the new country, meaning they remain a citizen of their birth country but live in the new country permanently, or they may become a citizen of their new country, as if they had been born into the new country.
It is even possible for a person to hold dual citizenship, continuing to be a citizen of their birth country and becoming a citizen of the new country as well.
Once a person decides to move to another country, he must get a passport and a visa and decide whether to start the process to become a permanent resident or citizen of the new country.
According to www.usimmigration.org, in the United States a person can apply for a green card, which will allow him to live and work in the United States. The process includes filing an application and getting a medical examination to make sure the person is healthy and has received all of his immunizations.
The green card is valid for ten years, and must be renewed if the person plans to remain and work in the United States. Parents can request green cards for their children who are still in their home country, and spouses can request green gards for their husbands or wives who are still in their home country. This is called a family-based green card.
If a permanent resident decides to become a citizen in the United States, she must begin the naturalization process. She must be 18 years old or older, have lived in the United States for three to five years as a permanent resident, be a good, moral person, have a basic knowledge of U.S. government, and be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
If all of these requirements are met, an immigrant can apply to take the citizenship test. Once she passes the test, she is now a citizen of the United States and has the same rights as someone who was born here. Basically the only thing she cannot do is run for the office of President.
Immigrants face many challenges in their new country.
Some of these challenges are:
Whether moving for pleasure, work, or to be closer to family, there are many reasons why one may choose to leave the country where they were born and make a new home in a different country.
As you go throughout your day, look around. Be aware of those in your class, neighborhood, and community who may be different from you. Be sensitive to their needs and feelings, and befriend them.
You may be surprised to hear their stories and discover how many common interests you share!