The right to vote is fundamental in our democracy. It is a privilege and an honor, as well as an incredibly important task. Voting allows your voice to be heard in the policies of the nation. Voting is the way most people contribute to the ongoing national conversation on what is important to the American people, and in this election cycle, it is more important than ever.
Over the past year many politicians have voiced their opinions on what the future of immigration policy should be for the United States. There has been talk from both sides of the spectrum—some favor a path to citizenship for those already here without status and some favor a complete ban on future immigration. In November’s presidential election voters will decide which opinion will shape future immigration to the United States.
The President has the ability to influence legislation, both by recommending what should be included in bills and by vetoing any legislation that he or she disagrees with. The President also has the ability to create or repeal Executive Actions. For example, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through Executive Action in 2012. It was a unilateral action taken by the President without the assistance or need for approval by the U.S. Congress. A future president could enact similar Executive Actions, or could repeal actions like President Obama’s DACA program. A future president could also repeal President Obama’s more recent Executive Actions expanding the DACA program and creating the Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens (DAPA) program, both of which are still on hold pending a decision from the United States Supreme Court.
The presidential election is not the only important election that citizens should prepare to vote in. There are also numerous congressional elections coming up in November. Members of the U.S. House and Senate create, amend, and vote on bills, which can become law only if they are first passed through Congress. Choosing a Senator or U.S. Representative based on their stance on issues of importance to immigrants can help shape future immigration legislation. Comprehensive immigration reform, for example, will be debated in the House and the Senate. Whether it will pass, and what it will entail, will depend greatly on the representatives in Congress, what their views are, and how strongly they intend to follow the wishes of those who elect them. Being a citizen allows you to vote for these representatives, and to hold them accountable when they are up for re-election. If your representative is not holding true to the promises he or she made, or has voted for legislation in opposition to your views, you can cast your vote to remove him or her from of their position.
Lawful Permanent Residents (or “green card holders”) who are eligible to apply for Citizenship should submit their naturalization applications as soon as possible. In most cases, an applicant must live in the United States with Lawful Permanent Resident status for at least four-years and nine-months in order to apply to become a U.S. Citizen. Being a Citizen allows you to vote for the candidates who support the issues that are most important to you and to the immigrant community. According to the most recent USCIS processing times report, the current processing time for citizenship applications in the Charlotte Field Office is about five months. Applying this month will allow applicants enough time to complete the process and timely register to vote before the November elections. It will give the immigrant community a voice in this election, and allow immigrants to have a say in the future of the country in which they reside. It could help pave the way for comprehensive immigration reform, executive actions granting rights and protection to people in the United States without status, expand employment opportunities for immigrants with specialized skills, and many other possibilities. The only way to get there, though, is to have a voice in the political process.
If you or a loved one believes you are eligible for citizenship, and would like to begin the process of becoming a voting citizen, do not hesitate to contact Charlotte Immigration Law Firm by calling (704) 900-2925 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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