A new hope in a new land…

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A new hope in a new land…

Caroline Tucker, Feature Editor

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America, the land of the free, the free as in the ones who were born here. Obviously, not everyone in America originated here, but the change from life in a whole other country brings many complications, making for a hard and very complex system that can take years to complete.

Junior Hannah Falk is just another normal student walking the halls of Allen High School. The thing that makes her different from everyone else? She is a citizen of a whole other country.

“It’s a long and hard process to be a citizen,” Falk said. “I first had to apply to be one, fill out a lot of paperwork, take a lot of medical tests to make sure that I don’t have any diseases, drug problems or major mental disorders. Then I have to take an actual test to show that I can be trusted.”

According to travel.state.gov, if a person wants to apply to live in America, they have to be given a visa. This allows them to work and get paid in the new country, along with being able to buy a house and live there.

“We originally were not supposed to stay here,” Falk said. “The plan was three years. We only relied on my dad’s work visa for a long time until we all got our green cards.”

Applying citizens obtain their green cards after living as residents under a visa card for five years. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, a green card does not grant citizenship but gives the person the right to permanent residency in America.

“We’re permanent residents, and it’s easier to now cross the border between Canada and America,” Falk said. “But in order for me to earn my dual citizenship between both countries, I have to pass the test.”

The citizenship test is performed by an orator who asks ten questions from a list of 100 questions, and in order to pass the applicant must answer six of them correctly. Overall, the people applying to be a U.S. citizen have a 91 percent passing rate.

“It’s difficult because you have to study a lot for the test,” Falk said. “The process is just so long, I mean I’ve been working for it since I was younger than 14.”

If an applicant fails the test the first time the USCIS makes an appointment that will take place several weeks away. If it is failed again, the applicant is denied naturalization.

“Even though it’s a really hard, long process, I’m glad I’m reaching the end of it,” Falk said. “Even though I am nervous for the test, I’m looking forward to my life being easier as a real American citizen.”

The process for citizenship is an alien system to people who are born in America. The system has just become a part of her life, since she began so young, it’s a natural thing Falk explains.

“My parents don’t want to become citizens, because of the time and effort that goes in,”Falk said. “But they support me and my brother’s want for dual citizenship.”

Falk says she’s excited to be a citizen, but that she’s extremely tired of having to prepare for all the applications, the interviews, the tests, and every other tiny, but overwhelmingly large detail involved in the system.

“There’s a lot of things for preparation, too much,” Falk said. “I’m ready to have this all done with because this process is just so extra.”

Coming from Canada doesn’t cause a huge geographical change for Falk, but that doesn’t mean it made leaving any easier, Falk explains.

“I will always miss Canada, it’s where I’m from, but it’s not like I’m an ocean away,” Falk said. “I’m glad to be here; I’m nearing the end of the process. After these five years, I think I can say I’m ready to be an American.”


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