If you are a lawful permanent resident green card holder, there are many reasons for becoming a United States citizen, such as:
- The ability to obtain green cards for immediate relatives with NO WAIT TIME
- The right to obtaining citizenship for children born abroad
- The right to travel abroad, when, where, and for whatever duration you please
- The huge financial savings of never having to pay USCIS filing fees again to renew your permanent resident status
- The right to hold certain jobs only open to citizens
- The ability to vote in Presidential and other federal elections
HOWEVER, these reasons, while important, are not nearly the most important reason to become a U.S. Citizen. There is one overriding reason to become a U.S. Citizen......
The number one reason to become a U.S. Citizen is to PROTECT YOURSELF and your family from removal from the United States.
Why? Because as a permanent resident you are subject to deportation at any time ICE determines that you have violated one of the many, many grounds of deportability.
That’s right. It doesn’t matter how long you have lived in the United States or how long you have been a permanent resident, you are subject to permanent removal from the United States at any time the government determines you have violated one of a very long list of prohibitions.
Green Card Holders Can be Deported for Many Reasons - Citizens Cannot
The following are some examples of things that can result in a permanent resident green card holder being permanently removed from the United States:
- You traveled abroad, and the government feels you have been gone too long, acted in a way inconsistent with someone who intends to live in the U.S., or violated other travel restrictions
- The government determines your marriage is fraud
- You are accused or convicted of certain crimes (including relatively minor offenses)
- The government decides you used drugs - even without any criminal charge or conviction
- The government determines you are involved in espionage, sabotage, treason, or sedition
- You did not update your address in writing with U.S. immigration authorities within ten days of moving
- The government decides you have engaged in document fraud
- You are accused of falsely representing yourself as a U.S. citizen
- The government determines that by being present in the U.S., you would create potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences
- You have become a public charge (dependent on need-based government assistance).
- You voted in violation of any federal, state, or local law
- You violated one of the many terms applicable to your green card
These are just some examples of a much longer list of grounds to deport a permanent resident green card holder. Imagine being accused of a crime (justly or unjustly), or violating one of these or other rules, and being forced to permanently leave the United States and your family.
TV Reality Star Facing Deportation When Becoming a Citizen Would have Protected Him
This is exactly what happened to an individual on a well know reality show. Joe Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who has lived in the United States since he was one year old, has been eligible to become a U.S. citizen for decades. However, he never went through with the process of becoming a citizen. Now, because he was convicted of misstating his income on a bank loan application, and other related offenses, he is facing deportation.
Had he become a citizen, he would now have the absolute right to remain in the United States with his wife and children despite his conviction. But, because he didn’t, it is too late. Instead, he will be deported to a country he has never known and will never be allowed to come back into the United States. His wife and children will remain here.
While this is a very public and high-profile example, it is something that happens all the time. Once the government determines you have violated one of the many grounds of deportability, and must be removed to your home country, it is TOO LATE to apply for citizenship.
Becoming a U.S. citizen NOW avoids this problem. Citizenship obtained lawfully gives you certainty. Certainty that the government can never force you to leave the United States. Every immigrant understands that certainty is a rarity in the U.S. immigration system that is based primarily upon discretion and the whim of government officials which changes from administration to administration. The peace of mind that comes with this kind of certainty is priceless.
Don’t Make the Mistake Handling Your Own Case – Get the Help of a Citizenship Attorney
The worst thing you can do is submit paperwork to USCIS without having a citizenship attorney help you with the process. When you submit a citizenship application, the government will not only review the paperwork, but they will review the entire set of circumstances under which you obtained your permanent resident status in the first instance and all your conduct since then. They will also expect to see certain documentation and supporting evidence. If done improperly, not only will your request for citizenship be denied, but the government could revoke your permanent resident green card status. The bottom line – do not file anything with the government without the help of a lawyer.
Contact This Fairfax Citizenship Attorney and Naturalization Lawyer Today
Don’t wait until it’s too late. It is important to act as soon as possible. Call the Fairfax office of Manikas Law at 703-556-0004, or take a moment to fill out our online contact form. We can schedule a consultation and get started protecting you and your family today.