To the editor: Thank you for your series on what it means to be a U.S. citizen in the 21st century. I moved to the United States in 1992, not out of necessity but because I wanted to. I come from a wealthy political family in Mexico City, where my life was easy and comfortable. But I wanted to have my own life and create my own destiny, because that’s something that money can’t bring you. (“Why U.S. citizenship matters,” Editorial, Oct. 19)
This is why I moved to the United States.
The United States is now officially my country, and it was an honor and a privilege to become an American on paper and to participate in our democracy as a voter and as someone active in local government. I do believe that citizenship is important and that if you have made this country your home, you have the duty to become a citizen. First-generation immigrants bring a unique perspective on issues; we enrich this country in a very important way.
To make this country better, we should all participate as fully as we can. Citizenship opens the door to full participation, allowing us to achieve the goal of a more perfect union for all.
Fred Mariscal, Los Angeles
To the editor: I came to this country in 1961 from Britain as the wife of a U.S. citizen. We have had four children since, and yet I am still not a citizen.
I would be more than happy to pledge allegiance to the United States if I could swear to what my children learned as the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Unfortunately, there is another piece inserted in the oath I am required to swear to in order to gain citizenship: I must forswear all allegiance to my birth country.
Yes, I know that in practice I can have dual nationality, and that Britain will pay no attention to my renunciation if simply uttered as part of a citizenship ceremony, but I will still be swearing a false oath, and that is something I cannot bring myself to do. I came here at the age of 24 and from a culture that at that time instilled in us that an oath is sacred: It is not just words. It is an oath.
How unfortunate that this requirement excludes those of us who are scrupulously honest.
Julia Jonathan, Santa Monica
To the editor: I am an approved political refugee from Syria. I possess an indefinite grant for residence and work authorization. I will be applying for permanent residency this coming February.
The purpose of my wish to acquire citizenship is for two solid reasons: identity and civic engagement. As the editorial points out, citizenship is anything but a mere piece of paper; it’s the right to feel validated by the society we live in, a right one can only prove beneficial when educated and participating in civic duties; an act that’s paramount to the health of representative democracy.
Razmik Ikezian, Los Angeles
To the editor: Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent on a fence and defenses to secure our border — and the U.S. rewards those who evade capture with healthcare services and other entitlements. Some states even provide resident-rate college tuition.
The solution might be to stop entitlements to stop the flow. Giving citizenship and entitlements will only continue the flow, no matter how difficult the border crossing is.
The American dream was not founded on the principle of breaking the law. The United States has a naturalization process that should be followed by everyone.
Ed Skebe, Manhattan Beach
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