All citizens have input in policymaking and law-writing in America. Our covenants, values and rules that we adhere to are supposed to point us in the right direction.
Being a part of your government is important and it helps us be able to catch our dreams, when it is time to do so. It doesn’t matter if you’re a constituent, civil servant or elected official — you matter. Being able to have your voice heard in the courtrooms, boardrooms and at the polling booths is nearly as important as your next meal.
Some people literally float to America to have a chance to become citizens. Some people walk over one of our North American borders to have the chance to be naturalized.
Some people drive, fly or ride the train over hoping to be able to gain employment long enough to apply for citizenship. Still, there are some steep drawbacks to becoming a citizen once you reach eligibility. One of the principal concerns is the cost to apply for your green card.
It costs on average $10,000 to have an attorney represent you through the green card process and a few years before you are approved. Then, to become naturalized it is almost $1,000.
This doesn’t sound like much for the well-heeled pack of Americans, but it is a pretty penny for those who are in the working class or on the lower edge of the middle class. Those two latter socioeconomic groups describe the bulk of immigrants who want to be and who are eligible.
I would encourage any American during this holiday season to donate to nonprofit organizations that will shore up immigrants who are eligible to be citizens through the naturalization process.
They deserve to feel natural, appreciated and included like any other American would like to and this would be an unforgettable act for all people involved.
We have matchless opportunities to be a success in America. We cannot afford to lose the appeal of being infused in our democracy as a citizen.
Jordan Thomas Cooper is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina. He is the first African-American to serve in both the governor and lieutenant governor’s office as an aide in South Carolina and has worked on several Republican candidates’ national campaigns.