New citizens say right way to immigrate is best
“Otherwise they would be illegal, which is a bad life,” said Mohammad Ashraf, 56, shortly after pledging to uphold the U.S. Constitution and all of its laws. “If you (do) not go through the legal process, it’s not a good life. You (should) come the legal way, not cross the border.”
Ashraf was one of 27 people who had come through the immigration process the “legal way,” and were naturalized Friday under a big, white tent erected next to the maritime museum in Glen Haven.
Ashraf left his native Pakistan to start from scratch in America, and is now a successful businessman who resides in Lansing. His thoughts were not alone among those whose dreams were realized upon being declared a naturalized citizen.
“It’s a good system,” said Amos Nahndolo, 47, who fled Liberia with his wife and children during civil unrest in 2002. “For those who try to just cross the border, in everything you do, there is a structure, and it’s good to follow the structure. Those who bypass the structure will cause problems for themselves, and the people they come to live with.”
Nahndolo was proud of his newfound citizenship.
“You will feel satisfied after going through the process, and you will become successful,” he said. His family now resides in Grand Rapids.
Andrey Postaychuk, 39, who just swore allegiance to the United States over his native Ukraine, agreed. He and his family reside in Traverse City.
“I don’t think it’s right to do that,” said Postaychuk of what has been termed “illegal immigration,” or coming into America outside of the immigration process. “People should come legally. You have to be true to yourself and the country ... I don’t think it’s the right thing to sneak.”
But Ashraf, Nahndolo and Postaychuk all flew to America. They had no access to American soil over a common border with their home country. Miguel Pedroza, a welder who works in a factory in Jonesville, knows many people from his native Mexico who are in America without the proper paperwork.
They live hard lives, always in fear of being exposed and sent home, Pedroza said. He would not criticize the improper process they used to gain access to a better life in America.
“It is sad when somebody is sent back after attempting to come to the states illegally or legally. Everyone has their own story ... I think everybody deserves a chance to prove that they can become a part of this country. It’s sad because they have to go back to what they were running away from in the first place.”
As part of the United States naturalization process, applicants must take an oral test provided by their immigration officer. Those seeking citizenship can access and study all 100 of the questions they could be asked. Applicants must answer six out of 10 questions to pass.
Following are 10 questions taken randomly from the federal government immigration website.
1. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
2. What is the name of the President of the United States now?
3. What does the judicial branch do?
4. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
5. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
6. What is the political party of the President now?
7. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
8. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?
9. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
10. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?
1. All people of the state; 2. Barack Obama or Obama; 3. Reviews laws, explains laws, resolves disputes (disagreements) and decides if a law goes against the Constitution; 4. To print money, declare war, create an army and to make treaties; 5. Provide schooling and education, provide protection (police), provide safety (fire departments), give a driver’s license and approve zoning and land use; 6. Democratic (Party); 7. (John) Boehner; 8. Give up loyalty to other countries, defend the Constitution and laws of the United States, obey the laws of the United States, serve in the U.S. military (if needed), serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed) and be loyal to the United States; 9. U.S. diplomat, oldest member of the Constitutional Convention, first Postmaster General of the United States, writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac” and started the first free libraries; 10. World War II.