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A deserving American

Dear Editor:

Wednesday morning I was having coffee at Victoria’s, my favorite java joint, reading the paper, when the great song “America” from the film “West Side Story” popped into my mind.

I was reading The Aspen Times headline “Deportation threatens Basalt family’s dream.” The lyric that sang out to me from the song was “I like to be in America!” And who doesn’t?



The headline story was about U.S. citizenship. In a nutshell, the mother of honor student Hector Morales Jr., currently heading to Duke University after earning a national scholarship, was picked up for a deportation hearing. After 21 years in the country, she has a problem – a big problem, although she is a good candidate for positive discretion by Immigration and Customs Enforcement based on her record.

This story opened a conversation with a friend from Australia who related his $30,000 ordeal to become a U.S. citizen.



His story included the test one has to take to prove that one will become a solid citizen if approved. The test can be found in the form of a practice test at http://www.800citizen.org with other information about citizenship.

One of the things applicants have to do is prove they can speak proper English, which would be a challenge for many sports commentators. As a basketball fan, I can only say, “Are you kidding?” to the TNT basketball guys and wonder if anyone at TNT reviews their sentence structure. Talk about a flagrant foul.

Back to being a good citizen – and the test. As I said, one thing candidates must do is prove they can speak English. The test offers a choice of sentences to recite, including, “I drive a blue car to work,” “You drink too much coffee,” which would have been my choice, and a favorite of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, “The White House has a big tree,” because he loves “them” trees.

Another part of the test is about U.S .history. If you look at the practice test, I would guess that if all the seniors graduating from high school this year around the country took it, we would be deporting half of them.

I am not suggesting that the immigration test is a joke – well, maybe a little. What I am saying is someone who has lived 21 years in this country and has been a productive citizen passes my test with flying red, white and blue colors.

Andrew Kole

Aspen


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