Permanent Residents should apply to become citizens as soon as they are able. On January 28, 2017, President Trump did something that few of us saw coming: he issued an executive order that banned up to 500,000 Permanent Residents from returning to the United States. It is (so far) a temporary ban, and it may not be Constitutional. However, President Trump’s order makes it clear that his administration will attack not only immigrants, but also Permanent Residents of the United States.
I have advised my clients for years that they should naturalize (become US citizens) as soon as they are eligible. Generally, people who have been Permanent Residents for five years or more (three years or more for those married to US citizens) are eligible to naturalize. Applicants must pass background checks, prove “good moral character”, pass civics and English tests, and swear allegiance to the United States in the naturalization oath ceremony.
Naturalized United States citizens enjoy more rights and protections than Permanent Residents, including the right to vote and hold most political offices and government clearances. It is extremely rare for the US government to attempt to strip a naturalized citizen of their US citizenship. The US government may revoke Permanent Resident status and deport Permanent Residents under many conditions.
The bottom line is that you and your family are safer if you are citizens. President Trump has excluded millions of immigrants and Permanent Resident from the US with no provocation or reason. It is frightening to imagine what the Trump administration might try to do to immigrants if there is another terrorist attack in the US. If you are eligible, you should begin the naturalization process immediately.
If you need help or have questions, please feel free to contact my office. There is never any charge for the telephone consultation, and we serve immigrants and their families nationwide.