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Thread: Citizenship, a funny thing

  1. #1
    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    Question Citizenship, a funny thing

    As many TF members know, I was born in Germany and that I'm a German citizen. I currently reside in California, and have for most of my life. Still, my family retains its culture, language, and German citizenship. Over the past few years, several of my family members have applied for US citizenship (or dual citizenship.) First was my eldest brother, then about two years ago my mom applied, and yesterday my father had his interview for citizenship. Both of my parents are retaining their German citizenship, and are just adding the US citizenship on top of it.

    Now, the issue of citizenship has always been a point of contention for me. I knew that I didn't want to get rid of my German citizenship, but I wasn't sure if I'd want to get US citizenship as well. There are several reasons for my feelings. One of which is the "trouble" of getting the US citizenship. No, I don't care about any test- I'm pretty well-versed in US history and governmental workings, so that wouldn't be a problem. Dealing with the INS (or ICE as I believe it's called now) is a completely different story.

    Around 2 or 3 years ago I had to renew my greencard with the US because it was going to expire. Since I was planning on being in Germany for the summer, I didn't want to have trouble getting back in to the US, neccessitating the renewal. I wont say to which INS office we went, but it doesn't matter: it's a government instituation. Since this is only sort of a tangent I'll sum up the experience quickly: long periods of discomfort without adequate facilities, food, or water, and all the while being heckled by the employees. Without going in to the wretched details, I'll say that it's very unpleasant. This, and past previous experiences made me never want to deal with the INS again- this didn't make me want a US citizenship more.

    As many of you know, there are a lot of people who want US citizenship, but have a hard time getting it. There's $$$ involved, time, political factors, and a number of other hurdles in your way to becoming a citizen. All of this makes what has happend to me all the more ironic:

    Yesterday, at my father's interview with the INS, his interviewer is talking to him, "I see your wife applied for citizenship two years ago... What about Jonathan?" After some paper-shuffling, the interviewer told my dad that I ALREADY AM a citizen; I apparently gained US citizenship 2 years ago when my mother was given citizenship (a few months AFTER my INS experience) since I was a minor at the time.

    Now aint that somethin'?

    There's people in this country, struggling to get citizenship. And then little ol' me who is contemplating not getting US citizenship at all gets it by default. Then there's the factor that I've been a US citizen for two years and NOT KNOWN ABOUT IT. I could have voted in the last congressional elections. Nobody ever bothered to tell us that I would become a citizen by default. I'm happy enough, though.

    The morale of the story: Well, there's plenty. Beauraucracy in the US can be painful. The easiest way to get citizenship in this country is to not want it. The interviewer may have been wrong and all this fuss is for nothing. Any other number of strange morals apply.

    All I know is thank heavens that even as a resident with a greencard I had to sign up for the selective services, otherwise I would have been a US citizen (from a foreign country, too!) above the age of 18 who hadn't signed up for slective services- not something you want on your record! lol

    Just thought I'd share my curious story with you, sorry it's sort of jumbled.
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  2. #2
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    WHAT?! Heckled? Like racism?

    Now that I know you're German, does EST mean anything?

    As far as selective services.... crap lol. Whenever I sign up I'm gonna put a big FU! on the bottom if I can. Hope that doesn't come back to bite me lol. I can't be drafted anyway as far as I know. I've got asthma and am my dad's only son.

    If they change their mind about asthmatics then I'll see you in Canada, Mabudon!

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    Ah one more example of the high quality in the United States government. Really this is rediculous that you were treated badly to begin with and that they didnt inform you of the fact that you gained citizenship through your mother. If it makes you feel any better the U.S. government has labeled me as a "potential terrorist" and I have been a U.S. citizen my entire life. This means when ever I go through customs from any where or want to get on a plane they have to call the NSA (National Security Admin.) which being a government agenceny takes about 30 min to an hour. I have to get to the airport very early for my flights now.
    "We're terrible animals. I think that the Earth's immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    What a horrible story EST! I had no idea that this is what people go through. I wonder how my own immigrant ancestors were treated in the early 19th century.

    Ktulu, why would you be labeled a potential terrorist? I'm sorry that you have to go through that.
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    rattler's Avatar
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    i know a guy from Canada that tried to become an American citizen.................he was deported TWICE before he got all the paperwork through and became a citizen............he said after that hell he understood why ppl just sneak in illegally.........
    cervid serial killer
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    The immigration process is way too political. I'm pretty sure anyone who arrives in the US from Cuba is still granted refugee status, even if they're only looking to make more money and had no problems back home. People who escape from countries we're friendly with can almost never be a refugee, even if threatened with death. I remember the time, maybe back in the 80s, when congress gave large part of a year's immigration quota to people from Ireland. I think it originated with a congressman from a heavily Irish district in NY. I can't remember if Tip O'Neill might still have been speaker of the house.
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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    Man, that sucks! Never did like the way the government worked, it can work ALLOT faster but it just doesnt, and when something happens (you are a perfect example) almost half of the time they dont tell you!

    Kinda makes me wish i was born in The UK or Germany or something... lol.

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    They wont actully tell me why I am label a potential terrorist but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I have been to Syria for a total of 2 days. The other 3 men on the trip with me also were labeled potential terrorists yet none of the 15 women were. This is completely idiotic as groups like Hezbollah and Hamas the "terrorist" groups that Syria is supposed linked to if you believe our government are equal oppertunity organizations. If a woman wants to be a suicide bomber they will let her.
    I just find it rediculous that I have to be inconvienced for something when they wont tell me what I did wrong. Did I commit a crime? If so what was it? and if not why am I penalized? I find it a violation of my rights as a citizen to not know why I am treated this way. Wait I forgot I dont have any rights any more under this administration sorry my mistake.
    "We're terrible animals. I think that the Earth's immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should." - Kurt Vonnegut

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