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US Citizenship

Today the United States Constitution was signed into existence by our Founding Fathers. Thus Sept 17 is celebrated at Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. But what does American Citizenship mean? American Citizenship, like citizenship in most countries is a bunch of rights and obligations, derived from the Constitution to people who are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. USA ensures that the people are protected and lead a happy life. The citizens elect the Government to run the State, and serve in the jury.
Citizenship in the United States is derived either through birth or by Naturalization, when one lives a certain length of time in the United States as a legal permanent resident. Naturalized citizen have to take a test of English and knowledge of Civics, and prove that they have good moral character.
Yet USA is a nation of Immigrants. As each wave of Immigrants came into this country, they settled down and became Americans. They developed a deep nationalism, and looked down upon the next wave of Immigrants. We have had waves of Germans, Irish, Italians, Asians, and South Americans. Each wave blaming the next for being “un-American”. Yet the general population has been very accepting of immigrants and they have assimilated quickly. Unlike countries like Canada and Europe who have the mosaic system, United States’ Melting Pot system creates better assimilation and a sense of nationalism among immigrants.
Citizenship also comes saddled with popular notions of patriotism. If someone does not stand up for the national anthem, someone protest a flag, are they being unpatriotic and hence not a worthy citizen? Similarly, a large group of people think that good citizens need to speak English and eat hot dogs and apple pie to be “real” Americans. And good citizen in that notion is completely subjective. It’s your own to make, whether it’s the notion of protecting the liberty that’s guaranteed by the Government, or whether as some put it, their forefathers have died for the country, the flag and the anthem.
For more information contact Banerjee & Associates

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