The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.4: "The Congress shall have Power … To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization" and regulations for all immigrants who desire to become United States citizens. This provision in the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the power, authority, and responsibility to decide who could become a citizen of the United States and under what conditions.
The United States is a "nation of refugees" that welcomes immigrant minorities that will help our nation to become stronger and better. Our Founders set the stage for our nation to become successful because they "considered a law-abiding, hard-working population of productive people its greatest resource." Like Israel today, the Founders had the attitude that increasing the population would also increase the human resources. At the same time, Americans have the right to leave the United States and become citizens of another nation whenever they desire.
It takes at least five years for an immigrant to attain full citizenship in the United States. The requirements are:
1) The applicant must be at least eighteen years old. 2) The applicant must prove that he or she came to the United States legally.
3) The applicant must have lived in the United States for five consecutive years or for three consecutive years if married to a U.S. citizen and for six months in the state where the application is filed. 4) The applicant must be of good moral character as testified by two U.S. citizens. U.S. law states that a person is not of good moral character if he or she is a drunkard, adulterer, bigamist, polygamist, professional gambler, convicted murderer, been in jail for more than 180 days in the five-year period, or lied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. 5) The applicant must demonstration that they know the history of United States and how its government works as well as being "attached to the principles of the Constitution." 6) The applicant must be able to speak, read, write, and understand the English language.
Congress legislated that U.S. citizenship - either native-born or naturalized - could be forfeited in the following ways: 1) Being naturalized in a foreign nation. 2) Swearing an oath of allegiance to a foreign nation. 3) Enlisting in the armed services of a foreign nation unless being forced to do so. 4) Serving in a public office in a foreign nation where citizenship in the country is a requirement for the office. 5) Voting in a foreign nation. 6) Going before an American officer and formally renouncing U.S. citizenship. 7) Being convicted of treason or trying to overthrow the government of the United States, 8) Being a naturalized citizen living in the country of his birth for three years or in any foreign nation for five years.
There are no rights of amnesty or naturalization for any immigrant who enters our nation illegally. See #2 in my third paragraph. The federal government is responsible to secure our borders to the point that immigration is done in a controlled and orderly manner.
Facts are from W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 411-415, where there is much more interesting information.
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