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  • Immigrating to the Land of Opportunity

    Touk Phosai Varney was born in Laos where Communist rebels controlled everything from religion to what a person ate and wore. The Phosai family explains what it was like escaping to America and growing up in Georgia. Fred Alexander of the U.S. Immigration Service talks about seeing his own heritage and the legacy of immigration.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. For what reasons do people come from other countries to the United States?

    2. Why do new citizens have to be sworn in?

    3. What are the general requirements for U.S. Citizenship? Should there be any requirements added or removed from the list? Explain. 

    Expansion

    1. Research what immigrants must do in order to become citizens of the United States. (A sample test can be found at:
    https://my.uscis.gov/prep/test/civics.) Predict how well you would perform without studying.

    2. As a class, discuss the economic and cultural contributions that immigrants have made to Georgia and the United States. Use current events to examine the rights that citizens have in other countries and compare them to the United States in order to understand why our country would attract so many immigrants.

    Vocabulary

    allegiance: loyalty to a country, government, or sovereign
    Thailand: (officially the Kingdom of Thailand) is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia
    Laos: (officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic) is a landlocked country in the heart of the Indochinese peninsula of Mainland Southeast Asia
    American Dream: set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. For what reasons do people come from other countries to the United States?
    They come for religious freedom; they come because their country has been destroyed by war or a bad government; they want a better way of life for themselves and their family.

    2. Why do new citizens have to be sworn in?
    Since they were not born into the United States, they must apply for citizenship in order to stay here for any length of time. At the end of that process, which includes a test on American history, they pledge allegiance to the United States, renounce their allegiance to their former country, and swear that they will be a loyal American citizen.

    3. What are the general requirements for U.S. Citizenship? Should there be any requirements added or removed from the list? Explain. 
    An applicant for U.S. citizenship must be at least 18 years old; have been a lawful resident of the U.S. for at least 5 years with good moral character (not been arrested for criminal behavior – listed on the site); attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; able to read, write, speak, and understand words in simple English; take and pass the test on the history and government of the U.S. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration)

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