No, you are not an American citizen

I have received so many emails from DREAMers and other undocumented aliens asking if they have been granted US citizenship and if they should apply for American passports (some of them even tried to fill form DS-11 but realized that they did not have the documents to complete it and were wondering how to get the paperwork).  The confusion about ALL immigrants who are in the country illegally are American citizens came out of a comment by Vice President Joe Biden that “You know, 11 million people that are living in the shadows. I believe they’re already Americans citizens.” The vice president is so wrong but he was talking like a politician.  United States is a country with laws that determine who is a citizen and unless Biden becomes a dictator and can do what he want by ignoring Congress and Supreme Court, his comments are just nonsense and clearly made to get the Latino vote.  Neither the US president or the VP has any powers at all to declare anyone -- legal or illegal -- a citizen.

So why are DREAMers and all other legal and illegal aliens not US citizens?

  1. DREAMers, even with DACA approval, are not legally present in the United States.  All they get with DACA approval is a deferral of deportation by two years and a permit to work.  They are not allowed to become green card holders or citizens.
  2. American citizenship is acquired either by birth or through naturalization (a very complicated process -- and definitely not available to undocumented immigrants without going through the process of legalization and then being a permanent resident for at least 3-5 years).
  3. You can believe whatever you want in your heart (my 4-year old nephew believes he is a Martian) but merely believing that you are an American or you have lived most of your life here or have no other country that you know of or that you only speak English or have an American accent or you have gone to school here or your parents forced you to move here or this is your HOME, none of this matters and does not make you a citizen.  Becoming a citizen is a long and complicated process and unless Congress approves a law providing a path for those illegally here to eventually file for naturalization, you are still a citizen of a country where you were born.
Warning:  It is a serious crime to make a false claim to be a US citizen.  NEVER check the US citizen box on Form I-9 or any other form to claim any benefits reserved exclusively for citizens.  DO NOT register to vote and never tell anyone that you are an American, even if you believe so.

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