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“A Message to New Americans”

I was reading a book titled “Americanization and Citizenship,” by Hanson Hart Webster.  The Table of Contents describes what’s involved in becoming an American Citizen, and explains the reason it is so important for immigrants to learn about America and the system of government we live by.

As the book starts, “A Message to New Americans” gives those searching for citizenship a step-by-step guide on how to file paperwork relating to citizenship.  Along with the “How,” this book also goes into the “Why” of becoming an American.  It states that “Self-reliance is a national characteristic.”  From breaking away from the dominion of England, to blazing new trails in the West, self-reliance is the spirit that animated these groups of Americans into action.

I was thrilled to see the plan so clearly defined, which explained the delays and waiting periods, making it clear to make no mistakes while preparing these documents.  It went into the Naturalization process, outlining the reasons a person may be denied citizenship:

1. A person guilty of a crime

2. A polygamist

3. An anarchist

4. A person who belongs to any kind of club, or association, that teaches disbelief in organized government

5. A person of questionable moral character

6. A person not rightly informed about the United States Government

7. A person who opposes the Constitution of the United States

8. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Hindoos

If you were an Immigrant on the road to citizenship, you had to complete an initial set of documents called a “Declaration of Intention.”  This document was completed and filed by the applicant, with a one dollar fee…paid only to the County Clerk or Naturalization Office.

After two years of declaring, you would then be allowed to complete your second citizenship paper, “Petition for Naturalization.”  Before completing this process, it is suggested to “prepare yourself for full citizenship.”

“During the two years that you have to wait before getting your second citizenship paper, you should learn the following things:

1. To speak, read and write correct English.

2. To understand what “organized government” means.

3. To know the simple facts about city, state, and United States Government.

4. To read carefully and learn to understand the Constitution of the United States.

5. To learn the duties of a citizen.

6. To learn how to act in court

The Copyright date on this book is 1919, but if these basic principles of citizenship were adhered to, would we be in the same situation we’re in now?  Of course, it was great to change the laws prohibiting Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Hindoos from qualifying.

But did you notice what the number one item listed in the second set of papers required for citizenship?

1. To speak, read and write correct English.

I’ve had several conversations with people on the issue of English vs. Spanish, and I have passionate discussions which may sometimes make me seem like I do not understand politics.  Recently, I was told that winning elections meant targeting our Republican message to Spanish speaking audience.  I mentioned it was a slippery slope that led to the lack of desire to learn English.

Why would an illegal immigrant feel the need to learn English, when everything they need is printed for them in Spanish?  Because of our drift from English as our country’s official language, we find ourselves struggling to assimilate new immigrants.  These new immigrants spend no time learning about these basic principles of becoming an American and have no idea how our government works.

Republicans are Pro-Immigration and assimilation…make no mistake.  We want people with a dream to come to our country and participate in Capitalism.  For Democrats/Liberals to say Republicans are against Immigration is FALSE.  We just want it done right…to ask someone living in our country to abide by our laws is not over the top.  It should be expected…

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