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Group wants immigrants to know U.S. citizenship is attainable

Of the eight million immigrants that hold valid green cards and are eligible to begin the process of becoming naturalized citizens, well under 10 percent pursue it. Several pro-immigrant groups have joined together for a new campaign to encourage qualified immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship. This program may benefit potential citizens currently residing in North Carolina.

The organization's goal is to reach out to those who may desire to become American citizens but are unsure about the associated costs and requirements. According to a spokesperson for the program, the required fee of $680 can be waived under certain circumstances. Additionally, the idea of having to take the exam in English may deter some older immigrants from taking the test. However, if the applicant is over 50 years of age and has been in the country with the proper documents for a stipulated time period, they are permitted to take the test in their native tongue.

Recently, the country commemorated Citizen Day, which is held to honor those who have come here and invested the time and commitment to become naturalized citizens. One elderly woman from China expressed her pleasure in her accomplishments and stated how the process has enhanced her quality of life and allowed her to vote and express her opinions. Another young woman related how helping her father become a citizen opened the door for her and her siblings to qualify for educational assistance and attend college.

The dream for a better life and more opportunities is often what draws so many immigrants to this country. Their lives may be greatly improved when they decide to make this country their true home and begin the journey toward U.S. citizenship. North Carolina residents who are interested in learning more about the process and what is required may benefit from contacting knowledgeable resources that can guide them through the process as effortlessly as possible.

Source: newamericamedia.org, "How citizenship changed my life -- from college to the ballot box", Elena Shore, Sept. 12, 2014

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