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A Guide for New Immigrants—Government Document

Below, you will read an excerpt from a government document about the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen. Government documents are official publications written by people who work for a government. These documents can describe rules and laws, or give information about topics such as the environment and immigration. We can study government documents to learn more about a government's ideas and plans.


Primary Source

Why Become a U.S. Citizen?

Permanent residents have most of the rights of U.S. citizens. But there are many important reasons to consider becoming a U.S. citizen. Here are some good reasons:

  • Showing your patriotism. Becoming a citizen is a way to demonstrate your commitment to your new country.
  • Voting. Only citizens can vote in federal elections.
  • Serving on a jury. Only U.S. citizens can serve on a jury. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens….
  • Becoming an elected official. Many elected offices in this country require U.S. citizenship.

Excerpt from Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, pp. 90–91. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2005.


Background

This excerpt is from a U.S. government guide written for new immigrants. The guide contains basic information about living in the United States. For example, it talks about how to find a job. The part of the guide that is quoted above encourages immigrants to become U.S. citizens. People who move to the United States and decide to become citizens have to go through the process of naturalization. First, they apply for citizenship. Next, they have an interview with someone who works for the United States government. They must show that they can speak, read, and write in English. They also have to know information about U.S. history and the U.S. government. Finally, they take an oath of allegiance to the United States and the Constitution. Afterward, they become naturalized citizens. A naturalized citizen has the same rights as any other U.S. citizen.