LESSON 4 The Naturalization Process

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1 LESSON 4 The Naturalization Process LEARNING OBJECTIVE Students will describe how immigrants become citizens through the naturalization process. LESSON OVERVIEW In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to navigate through the naturalization process, utilizing many of the same documents that are provided to immigrants from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). ACTIVITY 1: AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A PERMANENT RESIDENT CARD Purpose: This activity allows students to utilize the information they have just read in order to create scenarios for individuals wishing to apply for a permanent resident card or have a sponsor petition for a permanent resident card on their behalf. Once the students have created a scenario, another student will analyze the scenario, and then decide whether or not that person is eligible to receive a permanent resident card. Distribute the student handouts to the class. As a class or as individuals, go through the reading selection. Organize students into groups of three or four. Provide each student with a note card. On one side of the note card, students will provide the background story to an individual who is wondering if he or she is eligible to receive a permanent resident card. To get students started you may provide one of the examples below or one you have created yourself. Example 1: My name is Raul. I am 22 and from the country of Venezuela. I am a pitcher on a baseball team in Venezuela and my skills have attracted the attention of many MLB teams. Once the Chicago Cubs coach heard I can throw 100 mph, he wanted me to come to the United States to play for his team. Am I eligible for a permanent resident card? Example 2: My name is John. I am 30 years old and from the United Kingdom. I dropped out of school, went to jail for selling drugs and now I work in a pub. My Uncle James lives in New York City and says it s great there. I d like to move there. Am I eligible for a permanent resident card? Once each student in the group has completed writing their scenario, have each group exchange their note cards with another group. Each group will now examine the scenarios to determine whether or not the individual is eligible for a permanent resident Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 1

2 card. On the back of the note card, have the group write either yes or no. They will then have to go back to the text they just read in order to justify their response. In other words, they will be gathering evidence. Example replies can be seen below. Example 1: Yes, Raul should be eligible to receive a permanent resident card. The Chicago Cubs can petition for Raul on the grounds that he has extraordinary ability in athletics. Assuming Raul hasn t committed a serious crime or is a threat to national security, he should be ok. This would be an employment-based green card (category EB1). Example 2: No, John probably will not qualify for a permanent resident card. Uncle James is not an immediate family relative such as a father, brother, or son so John would not qualify for a family sponsored green card. He has no special skills, is not a refugee, he has a prison record, and because he is from the UK, he can t enter the Diversity Lottery. Once the groups have finished writing their responses on the back, you may want to randomly select certain cards to read to the class as a whole. Have the class see if they agree or disagree with the response. If groups felt they were unable to respond to certain scenarios, it would appropriate to share that card with the entire class. ACTIVITY 2: SHARING THE NATURALIZATION EXPERIENCE In the prior activity, students were exposed to the process involved in obtaining a green card. This activity is designed to help students become familiar with the naturalization process. The process is quite extensive and sifting through all the rules and regulations can be a little frustrating for immigrants. Students will share in the frustration by skimming and scanning information from the publications, A Guide to Naturalization and I am a Permanent Resident...How do I apply for Citizenship?" from the USCIS (links can be found below). These are the same guides that many immigrants use in order to prepare themselves for the naturalization process. Have students browse through these guides and complete the graphic organizer (in the student packet). The graphic organizer was taken from the USCIS website, but has been modified. Along various steps of the organizer, you can see that words have been replaced with blanks. Students will need to find the information from the brochures in order to complete the graphic organizer. There are twenty blanks on the sheet. You may wish to have students highlight the portion of the packet where they obtained the information they used to fill in the blanks. A link to the completed original version can be found below to use as an answer key. Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 2

3 What Should I Expect From the Naturalization Process? Taken from A Guide to the Naturalization Process from the USCIS website. I Am a Permanent Resident, How do I Apply for U.S. Citizenship? Single page flyer that has key information that can be used to complete the organizer. Pathway to U.S. Citizenship Completed graphic organizer. The modified version with blanks can be found in the student packet. ACTIVITY 3: PASSING THE NATURALIZATION EXAM To many, the most daunting task of the naturalization process is not filling out form after form or proving continuous permanent residence, it s the naturalization exam. A naturalization exam can be a monumental challenge for established citizens, students, and elders who are familiar with our unique history and government. Imagine what immigrants must feel as they prepare for this test! The actual naturalization exam is read aloud to immigrants and the test typically consists of ten randomly selected questions. In order to become a citizen, immigrants must answer six out of ten correctly. Give students a taste of the exam by administering a pretest. Have students number a half sheet of notebook paper Have a copy of the naturalization exam question databank handy. Randomly select numbers between 1 and 100 and read the corresponding questions aloud to the class. (I suggest using the random number generator. You may pick numbers out of a hat or have students shout numbers between 1 and 100 it s up to you) Once students have completed the pretest, have student assess their own performance. If the overall performance of your class is satisfactory, you may wish to move on to another activity. If the overall performance was bleak, have students prepare for the exam using one of the following methods below. METHOD 1: If your students have limited computer lab access, this probably is your only option. Download the question databank. Copy and paste the text into a word document. Delete all the answers leaving enough room between questions for students to respond. Have students work with a partner or small group in order to complete the packet using available textbooks then study for the exam. (Caution: If you have computer savvy students, finding the answer sheet online is not incredibly challenging.) Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 3

4 METHOD 2: If your students have access to a computer lab, have them work with the naturalization exam flash cards. The link takes you to a PDF file. The file will be easier to navigate if you download it to the desktop then open it up. When the file is opened from the desktop, each card will take up the entire screen. For example, the first question card is What is the supreme law of the land? Once students read the questions, they can either press page down on the keyboard or simply go down one notch on the mouse s scroll wheel. Doing so will make the answer pop up. METHOD 3: Once students have gone through the flash cards, having them complete the self exam may also be a good idea. The self test page randomly generates four multiple choice questions that are based upon the 100 questions from the databank. Have students practice and self assess until they feel confident enough to ace the exam. Final Naturalization Exam: Once students have prepared for the exam, randomly select ten questions for the actual exam. You can use notebook paper as you did with the pretest or preselect the questions and print up a worksheet. Once student have completed the exam, you can move on to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 4

5 Student Handouts Naturalization Process Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 5

6 Handout 1 PERMANENT RESIDENCY Prior to becoming a citizen of the United States, individuals must first receive permanent resident status. A permanent resident is an individual who has been granted the opportunity to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis with many of the same rights, protections, and privileges of citizens. Those who are fortunate enough to become permanent residents receive a permanent resident card, more commonly known as a green card. In most cases, an individual who has been a permanent resident of the United States for five years can be naturalized. If a permanent resident has not been naturalized, but wishes to stay in the United States, they must renew the card after 10 years. Millions from around the world wish to become permanent residents in the United States. Due to annual quotas and other restrictions, only a fraction will be granted permanent resident status. In the majority of cases, an individual seeking permanent residency will need to have a sponsor. The sponsor (typically a family member or business) is required to file a petition for immigration. There are several different ways to petition for an individual to become a permanent resident of the United States. The main methods can be seen in the table on the following page. Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 6

7 Handout 2 Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 7

8 Handout 3 HOW DOES ONE BECOME A PERMANENT RESIDENT? Family Sponsored Current US Citizens may petition for a spouse or a child (married or unmarried). If the US Citizen at least 21 years of age, they may petition for a parent or sibling. Current US permanent residents may petition for a spouse or unmarried child. EB-1 Priority Workers Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; Outstanding professors and researchers Multinational executives and mangers EB-2 Professionals With Advanced Degrees or Persons With Exceptional Ability Aliens who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States; Aliens who are members of professions holding advanced degrees or the equivalent. Employment- Based EB-3 Professional or Skilled Workers Professionals with a baccalaureate degree; Aliens capable of performing skilled labor (requiring at least 2 years of training or experience) for which qualified workers are not available in the United States; Aliens capable of performing unskilled labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. EB-4 Special Immigrants Religious workers; Panama Canal Company Employees, Canal Zone Government Employees, or U.S. Government in Canal Zone Employees; Certain physicians; Certain others. EB-5 Investment Foreign nationals willing to invest at $500,000 in business and create at least ten new jobs. Refugee or Asylum Status Diversity Lottery If an individual was allowed to enter the United States as a refugee or granted asylum and has maintained residence in the United States for one year, they may apply for permanent residence. (See section on asylum and refugees for more information) 50,000 green cards are awarded annually to randomly selected applicants from countries with low immigration levels. In order for a people from a country to be eligible, no more than 50,000 immigrants could have arrived from that country in the past five years. Applicants from the following countries are not eligible: Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom, and Vietnam Source: US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 8

9 Handout 4 REFUGEES AND ASYLEES Annually, the president of the United States and Congress work together to determine the maximum number of individuals who will be recognized as refugees or granted asylum (protection). In 2010, nearly 100,000 individuals were recognized as refugees or granted asylum by the United States government. Refugees and asylees are similar, but are different in one important aspect: location. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 a refugee is defined as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of persecution or a wellfounded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. In simpler terms, refugees are individuals who have been mistreated by their government and have left their country to avoid further mistreatment. Individuals officially recognized as refugees are located outside of the United States and are given permission to relocate to the United States. In order to be granted asylum, an individual must meet all the criteria necessary to be classified as a refugee. However, unlike refugees, those seeking asylum differ in the fact that they are either already located in the United States or are attempting to come into the United States through a port of entry such as an international airport, border crossing, or port. When an individual is recognized as a refugee or granted asylum by the United States government, they may apply for a green card after one year has passed. REFUGEE ARRIVALS FOR 2010 BY COUNTRY OF NATIONALITY COUNTRY OF NATIONALITY # % IRAQ 18, % BURMA 16, % BHUTAN 12, % SOMALIA 4, % CUBA 4, % IRAN 3, % CONGO 3, % ERITREA 2, % VIETNAM % ETHIOPIA 668.9% OTHER 5, % TOTAL 73, % ASYLEES FOR 2010 BY COUNTRY OF NATIONALITY COUNTRY OF NATIONALITY # % CHINA 6, % ETHIOPIA 1, % HAITI % VENEZUELA % NEPAL % COLOMBIA % RUSSIA % EGYPT % IRAN % GUATEMALA % OTHER 8, % TOTAL 21, % Source: Department of Homeland Security, Annual Flow Report: May 2011 Source: Department of Homeland Security, Annual Flow Report: May 2011 Copyright 2011 Citizenship Counts; All Rights Reserved P a g e 9

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