ForumTouchy Subjects ► US Citizenship and Immigration
So I have an idea that might be controversial in some circles, I think too much emphasis is placed on birth when it comes to US Citizenship.

When my family arrived to America, as far as I know they just showed up on a boat, got their names muddled up by the English speakers, and became citizens for no other virtue than that they showed up. Edit: They barely knew a damn thing about the country, they didn't speak the language, and they had no qualifications or skills that I know of going right to work in the atrocious factories on the East Coast and later moving out to the Dakotas with many other Norwegians and Swedes.

Generations later, my birth was undocumented and I was not acknowledged as a US Citizen until I could prove I was born here, something my great grandfathers never had to prove nor was required of them.

It took me until I was 19 years old to prove to the California courts that I was born here before I was granted citizenship.

I had no rights, could not legally work, could not legally drive, could not legally even go to school although I went anyways.

I committed a crime when I crashed my car drunk, got a misdemeanor DUI and a felony criminal endangerment. The felony will go away once I complete probation. Yet, although some rights are temporarily suspended, my citizenship was not revoked nor was I deported.

I made a friend who's mother illegally immigrated here, and she gave birth to him on US soil making him a citizen, but not her. He is, to this day, one of the most solid humans and great Americans I have ever met, yet some countrymen are not welcoming of him because his mother was not a citizen and citizenship is tied to birthright.

But, what is so special or important about birth? We scoff at Royalty nowadays as their only qualification is being born, but so many people cling to birth as some virtue or accomplishment and are proud to be "Born in the USA" even playing that song despite it being a song critical of the USA. Some people miss nuance.

Also I do not see why a full understanding of America should be required to be a citizen, nor should a clean criminal record as I was not deported. I could not pass a citizenship test if people asked me random questions like who the 7th president was or what the 23rd amendment is. I simply do not know off of the top of my head.

I hear stories of people taking years to go through immigrations and customs, but they need to come here and they need to work today, not three years from today.

When they do work, they should work as citizens so that they are afforded the same rights as American workers when it comes to pay, hours, safety, etc.

I also do not like that they are so scrutinized. People probably have tons of criminal records that are acceptable. Disturbing the peace? Who cares. Misdemeanor disorder or something? Bring them in. Nothing like this should stop someone from coming to America and being a citizen.

Language. English language. Why is that so important? Our schools fail us because they should be teaching Spanish as a primary language. Love it or hate it, we are a two language country now and Spanish has just as much place as English here.

I honestly wish Central and South Americans were able to show up to the border, give their name, and be granted citizenship just like my family was generations ago. It is only fair and right.

People who want to come here and be American should be welcomed with open arms I say. There are plenty of Americans born here who hate America and hate being American, I would welcome immigrants who are happy to be American and proud to be American and I don't mind if they sport the language and flags of their fathers.

Nobody gets upset when people have the Sons of Norway in America, so I don't see the issue with being proud of a Mexican or any other extranational heritage. Family and tradition is important to everyone and shouldn't be welcomed for some and shunned for others.

Honestly I can only think of two reasons why it is so hard for Central and South Americans to become US Citizens.

Racism and exploitation.

I believe large companies know damn well they are getting a good deal working illegal people for pennies on the dollar and having no rights and I cynically believe they using people's racism to try to keep that gravy train flowing.

We are long over due to welcome any and all who want to join the country and share in its prosperity.

What do ya'll think?
  
The idea that a bunch of Europeans can come over, murder their way into territorial dominance, and then turn around and say "nobody else gets in, though" is absolutely absurd. There is no principled reason to exclude anyone from North America, except perhaps white people. The end.
  
There is no principled reason to exclude anyone from North America
Exactly.
except perhaps white people
I don't really wanna turn away white people either though. I'd feel pretty foolish standing here all white like I am and being like, "Sorry, we got all the white people we need, you're too late."
  
I don't really wanna turn away white people either though. I'd feel pretty foolish standing here all white like I am and being like, "Sorry, we got all the white people we need, you're too late."

Oh, I mean including the ones who already live here.
  
Where would you send me off to? I don't think Norway wants me back.
  
I believe large companies know damn well they are getting a good deal working illegal people for pennies on the dollar and having no rights and I cynically believe they using people's racism to try to keep that gravy train flowing.
Racists want this stopped the most.
Where would you send me off to? I don't think Norway wants me back.
The last time the US sent people "back" it just made new countries to send them to.
  
Where would you send me off to? I don't think Norway wants me back.

Man, if you could live in Norway instead of the US, you'd be so happy.
  
Man I can’t think of anything other to say than “Right on, man.” @water phoenix
  
Man I can’t think of anything other to say than “Right on, man.” @water phoenix
Thanks fam. :')
Man, if you could live in Norway instead of the US, you'd be so happy.
Probably! I'd be a little intimidated to go to Norway. Truth is, I don't know that much about Norwegian culture or language except for the accent that survived in Dakotas complete with the American Norwegian, "Oo, yah, you betchya" and "Ufta".

Fun fact I once offended a Norwegian American by doing an impression of the Norwegian American accent until I calmed him down by explaining that's how some of my extended family talk.
  
Conferring citizenship automatically based on birth is just a simple rule for ensuring that people with no other home are not deprived of citizenship and the corresponding rights. Can anyone suggest a better criterion, assuming we don't want to grant citizenship to every human on earth?
I also do not like that they are so scrutinized. People probably have tons of criminal records that are acceptable. Disturbing the peace? Who cares. Misdemeanor disorder or something? Bring them in. Nothing like this should stop someone from coming to America and being a citizen.
If there are more people who want to enter the country than we are willing to admit into the country, then it makes sense to prioritize immigrants with better criminal records and, in many cases, more marketable skills.
Language. English language. Why is that so important? Our schools fail us because they should be teaching Spanish as a primary language. Love it or hate it, we are a two language country now and Spanish has just as much place as English here.
English is almost six times as common as a primary language in the US. It's certainly possible to get around in the US without speaking English, but it's much harder (obviously varying by locality). We should put more emphasis on Spanish and on bilingualism in general in our education system. However, again, pragmatically it still makes sense to require English proficiency simply because it makes integration into American public life much easier, and there are more than enough applicants that we can prioritize English-speakers while still maxing out our visa quotas. This may change as demographics shift.
Honestly I can only think of two reasons why it is so hard for Central and South Americans to become US Citizens.
Because of the high demand for visas, it's hard for anyone to get here without family ties. Racism and exploitation probably factor in too, but if those are honestly the only two reasons you can think of, then frankly you aren't thinking hard enough.
The idea that a bunch of Europeans can come over, murder their way into territorial dominance, and then turn around and say "nobody else gets in, though" is absolutely absurd. There is no principled reason to exclude anyone from North America, except perhaps white people. The end.
Is there a principled reason to exclude anyone from any country?
  
Is there a principled reason to exclude anyone from any country?

No.
  
"Because of the high demand for visas, it's hard for anyone to get here without family ties."

It didn't stop my family from showing up without ties or skills. Why should they get preferential treatment over others? They didn't even speak the language, the second generation was the first to get a good grasp of English.

That's not uncommon for immigrants and it used to be an accepted part of American life. Why did we lose that?

Edit: Trust me, if the artificial limitation is supposed to protect American jobs or something, I can assure you there are plenty of jobs to go around. In fact, there is a shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers in a huge variety of trades right now.

Almost every contractor I work alongside has a shortage of laborers, and yet we do not have a shortage of unemployment. And its not COVID either because this was before COVID as well.

I have offered unemployed acquaintances jobs with my boss and my boss's friends and they refuse because they want a white collar desk job editing poetry or something... Which is a fine job, but its a common attitude of people born here who feel entitled to an easy dream job and don't want to work the multitude of jobs that are going unfilled while they pursue their dream.

Americans don't want a vast chunk of American jobs, but there are people who want to be American who want to work those jobs. Why stop them? Is there any good reason?
  
I have offered unemployed acquaintances jobs with my boss and my boss's friends and they refuse because they want a white collar desk job editing poetry or something... Which is a fine job, but its a common attitude of people born here who feel entitled to an easy dream job and don't want to work the multitude of jobs that are going unfilled while they pursue their dream.


Perhaps a bit off topic, but this seems more than a little mean. It is reasonable not to want to work a job in physical labor. Physical labor takes a heavy toll on your body and can cause permanent damage later on down the line; in a country like the USA where healthcare is quite expensive, that's an important thing to consider.

Additionally, it's not very kind to diminish desk jobs as being useless - nor is it kind to imply that poetry or the arts are useless, at that. Perhaps I'm reading too much into that, but the tone there seemed very dismissive.
  
Americans don't want a vast chunk of American jobs, but there are people who want to be American who want to work those jobs. Why stop them? Is there any good reason?

I'll preface this by saying that I'm generally very pro-immigration, and anti borders all around.

The thing I don't like about this line of thinking is how it ties to labour value. Many of those jobs are extremely demanding and most people don't think the compensation is enough to make it worthwhile. Ideally, this would mean that those jobs would need to pay better and offer better conditions in order to fill those positions. However, by relying on a steady flow of poor immigrants or temporary foreign workers, many of which are desperate to move to or work in a prosperous country, the employers can keep wages low.
  
That's not uncommon for immigrants and it used to be an accepted part of American life. Why did we lose that?

Nothing has changed. USA culture is fine with immigrants, as long as they're British or French or whatever - White people. POC immigrants have never been accepted because nationalism and anti-immigration is all just about racism. The only difference, perhaps, is what is counted as White. People didn't used to like Irish and Italian immigrants either, because they weren't considered White. Never romanticise the past. It was a shitty place to live. The only time worth romanticising is the future.
  
America had open borders until they decided there were too many Chinese people coming over.
  
It didn't have an open border in terms of citizenship, which was restricted to white people from the start.
  
"that all men are created equal"
  
Forum > Touchy Subjects > US Citizenship and Immigration