My mother was an immigrant to the United States. She arrived after the end of World War II and found a job within a few weeks of arriving. She already spoke English in addition to her native language but spent her life perfecting it to the point that she could read, write, and speak in either language with profeciency.
With marrying her American solider she met during the war and raising two children, getting her fees together, finding sponsors, and learning the history of the United States, it was quite a few years until she earned her citizenship in America.
I was still in grade school when she was sworn in as a citizen but remember it clearly. The room was crowded with applicants, sponsors, and families with an air of anticipation and gratitude for the event about to unfold. Before my mother became a citizen, she would stand for the American Flag but wouldn’t pledge to the flag which often angered my father. She explained that she couldn’t do that to her homeland, which she still loved, until she was actually a citizen of the United States. At the end of the citizenship ceremony, the entire auditorium of people stood up and pledged their allegiance to the flag including my mother for the first time in her life and with tears in her eyes for officially leaving her homeland behind and the joy at embracing the fact that she was now a citizen of the country where she had been living and working for years already.
I know that this is why I get so frustrated and sad when people don’t always consider the magnitude of foregoing the country of their birth and asking for permanent entry into what I consider the greatest country on earth. The disrespect we are seeing more and more these days is horrific as it comes from people who put labels on events in the history of this country out of context and deride and demean the very land that gives them the right to make such statements even if they are so wrong.
Basically, if you become a citizen for convenience without an ever-growing love that will eventually surpass the care you had for your place of birth, you aren’t grateful enough for what you have been given.