Resident aliens differ greatly from illegal aliens. These resident aliens are documented workers, but they do not have citizenship. According to Investopedia, in order to be classified as a resident alien, the individual must possess a current green card or held one in the last year.
Resident aliens may apply for citizenship, which will give them access to many protections and privileges. This process can be difficult and complicated, which is why many resident aliens put off naturalization for years. However, with the help of a good immigration attorney, these barriers will become much more navigable. Here are some of the privileges offered to citizens of the United States:
The Right to Vote
Citizens of the U.S. have the benefit of being able to vote for candidates for local, state or federal office. Having the right to vote and pick representatives who best embody the beliefs and ideals of the voter is one of the highest honors. This right gives citizens some measure of control over their own lives, and is a cornerstone of the American ideal of self-government.
U.S. citizens can’t be deported. Permanent residents without citizenship are subject to deportation for criminal infractions or bureaucratic harassment, and the alleged crimes don’t even have to be serious. Non-citizens have fewer options for plea bargains and reduced sentencing, and deportation is a constant threat. See Joshua Goldstein’s frequently asked questions about immigration, deportation, and citizenship for more information.
The Right to Hold Political Office
Becoming a citizen allows you to hold public office. There are some exceptions (such as the office of President of the United States), but these are few. Besides voting as a new citizen, people born in other nations can hold positions of power in the United States once they have naturalized.
Take Advantage of Tax Laws
Citizens have several tax advantages over non-citizens. For example, real estate can be transferred to a spouse, and if that spouse is a citizen the property will be exempt from property taxes. Married couples are also allowed a number of other free exchanges under the tax code.
Retain Foreign Citizenship
During a naturalization ceremony, foreign-born individuals renounce their loyalty to their mother country when they recite the Oath of Allegiance. But thanks to a Supreme Court decision, this phrase may be omitted from the oath. This gives the benefit of dual citizenship. Even if the United States does not recognize foreign citizenship, for all practical purposes it is retained. Thus this consideration ceases to be a barrier to naturalization.
Taking out your citizenship is a privilege that should not be discounted. If you are considering naturalization, you should move ahead with the process before Washington decides to add any additional obstacles.
Author Information: Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and writer on the topics of business, economics, and politics. She has written for Host Review and HR.com. She currently lives in Denver with her dog Charlie.