Overcoming Obstacles to U.S. Citizenship with Eagan’s ESL Courses
By Alicia Atteberry
Picture this: Every day, you leave your home and look into the distance at a tall mountain. You desperately want to climb the mountain, but it takes years for you to figure out how to even get started. One day, you make up your mind to do it and begin preparing. You do research and talk to other people who have climbed the mountain – even experts on the mountain itself. You spend days of your time and stretch your budget to its limit preparing.
Finally, you set out. You know it will be a steep climb and there are many peaks to conquer, but you feel that you are ready. You reach checkpoint after checkpoint, celebrating each victory. It’s been a long time coming, and you’re proud of yourself for each step you take on your way up. Finally, you are so close to the top you can taste it. You see others already there, celebrating and waiting for you. Then you see the path between you and the peak, and you feel your heart sinks into your stomach. The old, creaking bridge you would have to cross is so much scarier than you thought it would be. You lose faith. You’re nearly to the top of the mountain, but you give up and turn around.
For many, that final peak on the mountain is U.S. citizenship. There are currently millions of immigrants in the United States who are already eligible for U.S. citizenship, but many of them don’t pursue it. Why? The obstacles to becoming a U.S. citizen can be overwhelming. For those who are already struggling to find their path to legal status, these hurdles can make citizenship feel completely out of reach. It takes months or years to get legal status. Then, naturalization, the legal process through which one becomes a citizen, presents many new challenges. It can be expensive and takes additional years to achieve. Many also feel conflicted about swearing allegiance to a new country or having to give up their citizenship in their native land.
For many, the tests on civics and English language are that creaking bridge on the mountain that they can’t get up the courage to cross. The tests can be intimidating and discourage many from pursuing their dreams of citizenship. Millions of permanent residents choose to instead go through the tedious process of continuing to renew their status indefinitely. However, there are many benefits to making the final push to become a citizen:
- Citizens are not vulnerable to deportation or loss of status (except in rare circumstances).
- Citizens tend to make around 10% more than non-citizens.
- Citizens can file immigration petitions for their immediate family.
- Citizens are eligible to obtain a U.S. passport and travel without restrictions.
- Citizens have the right to vote in elections and serve on a jury.
At Eagan Immigration, we are committed to empowering immigrants to achieve their dreams. If your goal is U.S. citizenship, we want to be here for you all the way up the mountain. Most of our staff is bilingual, and many of us know the struggle of learning a new language. That’s why we offer our services in Spanish and specialize in finding paths to legal status and citizenship, even in the most difficult cases. We are proud and honored when we are able to help our clients go on to pursue citizenship. We provide coaching and resources to tackle each hurdle our clients face, so you can stop worrying and feel confident about your future.
What is the naturalization process and how can Eagan help?
To apply for U.S. citizenship, you must be:
- 18 years or older at time of filing
- A Lawful Permanent Resident for at least 3-5 years
- Able to demonstrate continuous presence / permanent residence for at least 3 years
- Able to read, write, and speak basic English
It can be intimidating to learn the necessary English to pass an English competency test and the additional civics test. After that, you have to complete your final interview, which is also fully in English. That’s why Eagan is offering a new service in 2024 to help our clients across the finish line. We’ve guided many of our clients who are now U.S. citizens to success, and we’ve utilized our years of experience to develop an ESL course specially tailored to prepare Spanish-speaking applicants for their U.S. citizenship tests and interview. The class is open to clients and non-clients.
These virtual classes are four hours long and meet once a week for sixteen weeks. Instruction will be in English, following recognized ESL strategies, to give you the maximum immersion experience possible. We keep class sizes to just six people in order to give you the time and attention you deserve. Our expert instructors will cover everything you need to prepare for the naturalization process, including:
- Basic English grammar and vocabulary
- English reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension
- The history, government, and culture of the United States
- Targeted preparation for your in-person interview
On top of that, we are going to be your cheerleader! We know you can do this! The Eagan classroom is supportive, inclusive, and designed to build your confidence. Ultimately, it is up to you to make the choice to pursue your dreams and to commit your time and effort to achieving them. At Eagan, we simply aim to give you the tools you need.
If you are interested in learning more or if you’re ready to register, click here or reach out today! See below for the details for our next class.
February 17 – June 1, 2024 (16 weeks)
Saturday 8 AM – 12 PM EST -OR- 1 PM – 5 PM EST
Call us to register at 202-709-6439 or click here to reserve your place in line. Please note, to receive the client discount, you must call to register.