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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: July 12, 2001 (Extensions)]
[Page E1327]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr12jy01-37]                         
 
                         CITIZENSHIP IMPORTANT
                                 ______
                                 
                           HON. DOUG BEREUTER

                              of nebraska

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, July 12, 2001

  Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member wishes to commend to his 
colleagues the July 4, 2001, editorial from the Omaha World-Herald 
entitled ``Americans All.'' It ran exactly 225 years after America's 
forefathers declared independence from England. At that time, no one 
could have envisioned how the ideals expressed in the Declaration of 
Independence would continue to attract immigrants from around the 
world.
  Mr. Speaker, immigrants who legally traverse the U.S. immigration 
system should be highly lauded. Indeed, they have made incredible 
sacrifices to attain freedom and the chance to pursue their dreams. 
Therefore, it is incumbent upon this body to continue to support legal 
immigration and the efforts of immigrants to become U.S. citizens for 
only through citizenship can immigrants, who contribute so much to 
other aspects of American society, fully participate in our unique 
political process.

              [From the Omaha World-Herald, July 4, 2001]

                             Americans All

       We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are 
     created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with 
     certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, 
     Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--Declaration of 
     Independence
       As Midlanders celebrate the 225th anniversary of America's 
     decision to end its status as a collection of colonies, it is 
     instructive and heartening to note that this region is in a 
     real sense a showcase for the degree to which the Declaration 
     remains a living document.
       Nebraska and Iowa in particular are increasingly becoming a 
     focus not just of immigration but of immigrants who take the 
     important and self-affirming step of becoming U.S. citizens. 
     Those who do so are immersing themselves in the old, yet ever 
     young, quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, 
     which often were not available in their native lands.
       The numbers are not yet huge, but the math involved is 
     impressive. Naturalizations--mostly of people from Latin 
     America but also from Lithuania and Asia and points all 
     over--have grown impressively in the last decade. Many come 
     for jobs, often in this region's meatpacking plants.
       But it is noteworthy that increasingly they are coming 
     here, rather than to more traditional venues like California, 
     Texas and the East Coast. Many believe that economic 
     prospects are brighter in this part of the country, and for 
     the most part they find easy acceptance. Last year, 4,245 
     people became U.S. citizens in Iowa and Nebraska. Contrast 
     that with the figure of 897 as recently as 1992--almost a 
     fourfold increase. (this Friday, at least 250 new citizens 
     will be sworn at Lexington, Neb.)
       He has endeavored to prevent the Population of these 
     States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for 
     naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to 
     encourage their Migrations hither. . . .
       It is worth remembering that one of the complaints the 
     authors of the Declaration fielded against England's King 
     George III was that his policies sharply restricted 
     immigration. George correctly saw burgeoning population as a 
     threat to his hold on the colonies. And while he could do 
     nothing about population growth in America due to the natural 
     margin of births over deaths, he could and did try to 
     strangle further influx.
       Today, although immigration and naturalization still 
     present some roadblocks, the picture is much brighter. Among 
     those who want to plant their futures here, for the most part 
     they do better if they become citizens. They then have more 
     of a stake, more of a say. And, to their credit, the process 
     requires work. It's not like signing up for a supermarket 
     discount card or acquiring a driver's license.
       The procedure usually takes about a year. There's a 
     standard $250 processing fee, and along the way there's an 
     FBI background check, an interview and a civics test. So it's 
     not easy, but at least it's achievable and the process is 
     regularized and fair. Completing it is, and ought to be, a 
     source of pride.
       Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British 
     Brethren. . . . We have reminded them of the Circumstances of 
     our Emigration and Settlement here. . . .
       As has been often noted, this is a nation of immigrants. In 
     the Midlands, that immigration has to a great degree meant 
     Germans and Irish, and in lesser numbers Poles, English, 
     Scandinavians, Czechs and the descendants of freed slaves. 
     Today, Latinos and, to a lesser degrees, those of Asian 
     origins are changing the face of society here--figuratively 
     and literally.
       It is, we believe, incumbent on those who got here first to 
     extend a welcome to those who are making their own trips and 
     taking up citizenship as the 20th century fades into the 
     21st. For the most part, this is happening seamlessly. For 
     the most part, this is happening seamlessly. The newest 
     arrivals are being assimilated and recognized for their 
     strengths. To be candid, Iowa and Nebraska would have 
     difficulty sustaining population growth without them. The 
     process feeds on itself. Newcomers who become citizens (or 
     legal residents) are in turn entitled to serve as sponsors 
     for relatives' applications.
       And so it goes. The faces change somewhat. The goals and 
     dreams do not.
       Nearly everyone who comes here and becomes a part of the 
     American matrix is seeking essentially the same things the 
     Founders were taking about 225 years ago. Americans are all 
     in this together. They draw strength for new blood, new 
     ideas. That's the indisputable past, and it is the inevitable 
     future.

                          ____________________




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