The article in the Washington post, which focused on allocating money for services to help LEGAL immigrants become citizens, was the target of many bloggers to spew hatred. It was interesting to me, having read so many previous self righteous comments from the “anti illegal immigrant side”, that there would be this outpouring of disgust for a program that would promote citizenship to LEGAL residents. Isn’t that what we all want, integration? The reality is that this issue DOES revolve around an anti Hispanic theme, fear of being “overtaken” by a different culture, fear of losing our “Americanism”. But what is America? As a culture, have we not evolved from so many different immigrant experiences? I believe being American is not about a specific culture, but about an ideal. An ideal of freedom, of individualism. A belief that we can all achieve our dreams if we are willing to work hard. We are the land of opportunity. We are Americans, all connected, by a common goal……freedom.
“This is about getting people who have become [legal] permanent residents to become U.S. citizens . . . so they can become full participants in this society,” said J. Walter Tejada (D), chairman of the Arlington County Board, at a news conference to announce the proposal.
The three-year plan, which was primarily developed by the advocacy groups CASA deMaryland and Tenants and Workers United of Virginia, is modeled on similar initiatives in California and Illinois. It would use a combination of federal, state, county and private sources to fund as many as 25 “Naturalization Support Centers.” The centers would provide a range of services, including educational outreach, test preparation, legal counseling, referrals to English courses and assistance with filling out applications.