Zen Santos, said to NewAmericaMedia.org that she felt she lacked something before becoming a U.S. citizen. That was because she was not able to vote and integrate into the country. She came to the U.S. in 2008 from the Philippines and obtained citizenship in 2013. Becoming an American citizen has allowed her to have a say in who is going to take care of her adopted land.
Green card holders living in the U.S. for five years or more apply for and obtain U.S. citizenship for several reasons. Many come here to make the country their permanent home and so they apply for U.S. citizenship, soon after they meet the requirements. This blog focuses on the Filipino community and includes reasons why most Filipinos go for U.S. citizenship.
Many Filipinos like Santos, come here to make the U.S. their adopted land and have no plans to go back to their home countries. Many opt for citizenship because being green card holders will only give them an opportunity to apply for permanent resident status for their unmarried children and husband or wife. But as U.S. citizens they will be able to sponsor a wider range of relatives that include their parents, siblings and married children. In order to reunite with their family members left back in their home countries, many Filipino nationals apply for U.S. citizenship. Being a U.S. citizen gives them a chance to bring their husband or wife, married and unmarried children, parents and their siblings to the U.S. Single people will also be able to bring their fiancé(e)s to the U.S. to whom they can get married in the U.S.
The immigration process for the minor children and husband or wife of U.S. citizens will likely take around 12 months to complete. But this is not the same with green card holders. Their petitions may not be processed faster. This is another reason why Filipino nationals prefer to naturalize rather than to remain permanent residents.
Permanent resident status will not give a person access to civic rights like voting. But U.S. citizenship will give a person the right to vote and hold elected positions. This will help them stand up for themselves and their community. This will also help them integrate into the country. This is another huge benefit of American citizenship many Filipinos seek.
U.S. citizenship status makes travel easy. Citizens can simply carry their U.S. passports and travel the world. They will not be questioned upon their return to the U.S., even if they remain abroad for years.
There are more reasons why Filipinos choose to naturalize. Though Filipinos become U.S. citizens, they are still viewed as a part of the minority group, according to Inquirer.net. However, becoming U.S. citizens is not only an important step for the Filipinos, but for all other immigrants in the U.S. who wish to enjoy the above benefits.