Search blog:
Subscribe to blog posts:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Citizenship

I filed at the beginning of August to have the conditional status removed from my permanent residency. The Department of Homeland Security usually sends a receipt in four weeks, but they're "backed up" right now, so it is taking in excess of ten weeks to mail me a piece of paper that says "We have received your form." (Of course, they took less than 48 hours to bank my filing fee check.) I hope I get the receipt soon, because my Green Card expires on November 4. Once I get the receipt, it will be eleven months if I'm lucky before I get a new Green Card.

This time next year, however, I will be eligible to apply for citizenship, w00t! Last night I decided to check out that process for the first time. The filing fee is $330, plus a $70 biometric services fee for fingerprinting. They have taken my fingerprints at least a half-dozen times during the immigration process, and each time, they have charged me around $70, but you never know: this time, maybe my fingerprints will be different! (I wonder what would happen if they were.)

There are a couple of interesting questions on the form itself. I liked this bit:
Information for Criminal Records Search.
Eye color: Brown Blue Hazel Pink Green Black Gray Maroon Other
Maroon? Who the hell has maroon eyes? Vampires? As Matt said, "I think I'd crap my pants if I ever saw someone with maroon eyes."

I had this sigh-inducing question on my original fiancee visa form:
Have you ever been a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund foundation, party, club, society or similar group in the United States or in any other place? If you answered "Yes," list the name of each group below. If you need more space, attach the names of the other group(s) on a separate sheet(s) of paper.
Last time, it was just Mensa; this time, it's Mensa and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians -- a union! This places me squarely on the intellectual left. I hope that's all right.

And, of course, this question is a regular, even on the questionnaires all tourists to the US have to fill out at airports:
Have you ever been a member of or in any way associated (either directly or indirectly) with:
a. The Communist Party?
b. Any other totalitarian party?
c. A terrorist organization?

But I especially liked this question:
10. Have you ever advocated (either directly or indirectly) the overthrow of any government by force or violence?
Wait wait wait wait wait. Wait. Have I ever advocated the overthrow of any government by force or violence? Phew! Good thing I always thought the war in Iraq was a bad idea!

Seriously, did anyone at the BCIS read that question? Didn't a single underling proofreader pause to think, "Ho-o-o-old on a minute ... wasn't the violent overthrow of a government a recent US foreign policy decision? Shouldn't we encourage our would-be citizens to advocate this policy?"

Moving on.
Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?
I think it's sort of charming that alcoholics can't become American citizens.

At the end of the form is the Oath of Allegiance. It's actually very, very different to the Pledge of Allegiance, so all this time, I've been spouting a lot of untrue bullshit in internet arguments about how I have to take the Pledge when I become a citizen. I don't. I say this:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
So, basically, the Oath of Allegiance is more about fighting and dying in wars than anything else. Hrmm. It doesn't really inspire me. I mean, I'm fine with saying it - if I were required by law to participate in a war, I would, and cross my fingers it was a worthy war, and also I hope they'd put me in codebreaking or something because that would be sort of fun. But I wish the oath mentioned some other things about what it means for me to be an American.

Thus, I penned my own Oath of Allegiance.
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support the spirit of the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and should I feel that any laws ought to be amended, I will advocate legal methods of change;
that I will travel as much as possible to different regions of the USA to soak up the varied cultures within them;
that I will do my best to educate myself before and while engaging in political discourse;
that I will never take for granted the opportunities offered to me, and work my foreign arse off to contribute to and better the country financially, culturally, and intellectually;
that I will sing the US national anthem with gusto, because it's one of the best, and I have the vocal range to carry it off;
that I will follow American standard forms of grammar, spelling, and punctuation and abjure words such as "capsicum," "balaklava" and "crotchet";
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Oh, yeah, there's the much-famed government and civics test as well. You can test yourself here. It's not too bad; most of it is more of an IQ test than a knowledge exam. There were only a couple of questions that made me go "Huh?" I really thought it was the Secretary of State in the line of succession after the prez and veep, but apparently it's Dennis Hastert.

  • Greek Mythology:: "Melissa (1) One of the priestesses at Delphi whose name literally means Bee; she is the sister of Amathea and, as a child, was nourished by Zeus with honey.
    Melissa (2) The wife of the tyrant of the city of Korinth (Corinth), Periander; she was the daughter of Prokles (Procles) from the island of Kerkyra (Corcyra); she was murdered by her husband Periander circa 600 BCE." Murdered by her husband!? Oh noes!
Post a Comment