Many green card holders residing in the United States have decided, for a variety of reasons, NOT to apply for U.S. citizenship. This decision can prove to be a huge mistake with disastrous consequences, including deportation.

There are a number of reasons people do not apply for citizenship, even though they are eligible to do so:

  • Lack of knowledge of the law: Many people are simply unaware of their legal statuses and what they mean. Without proper legal guidance, many immigrants do not even know that they can become citizens.
  • Stubbornness: Some people get intimidated by the process, or do not want to pay the requisite processing fees.
  • Cultural Pride: There is a sense in some immigrant communities that becoming a United States citizen can be a betrayal of an individual’s original heritage and culture.

People need to realize that there is at least 1 very good reason to take the plunge and apply –  if a person is not a U.S. citizen, he or she is technically risking deportation at any time.

There are some green card holders who reason, “I am not in any current danger of being deported, so this situation does not apply to me.

But you never know – anyone can have a stroke of bad luck. In a recent case, an eligible individual who had never applied to become a citizen was arrested for an offense that carries jail time. He chose to take a plea deal rather than risk a trial, which is an admission of guilt, which triggered  automatic deportation proceedings. If he had successfully become a citizen before his arrest, he would not have been deportable.

If you or a family member are eligible to apply for citizenship, take care of it BEFORE any potential problems derail your future in the U.S.

What is stopping you?

Steve Maggi

SMA Law Firm

(212) 402-6885

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