BENEFITS OF U.S. GREEN CARD STATUS & CITIZENSHIP
Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is a legal document that lists important freedoms that are guaranteed to the American people. In most instances, these rights limit the government's powers over individual people. These rights include:
- Freedom of speech. The government cannot tell people what to say or not to say. People may say what they want about public issues without fear of punishment.
- Freedom of religion. The government cannot tell people what place of worship to attend. People can choose to worship - or not worship - as they please.
- Freedom of the press. The government cannot decide what is printed in newspapers or heard on radio and TV.
- Freedom to gather, or "assemble," in public places. The government cannot stop people from holding lawful public gatherings for many different purposes.
- Freedom to own firearms. In most cases, the government cannot prevent law-abiding people from owning guns.
- Freedom to protest government actions and demand change. The government cannot silence or punish people who challenge government actions with which they don't agree.
The Bill of Rights also guarantees "due process," a set of specific legal procedures that must be followed when someone is accused of a crime. Police officers and soldiers cannot stop and search a person without legal reason, and they cannot search people's homes without permission from a court. Persons accused of crimes are guaranteed to quickly obtain a trial by a jury made up of people like themselves.
They are guaranteed legal representation (regardless of their ability to pay for an attorney) and may call witnesses to speak for them. Cruel and unusual punishment is also forbidden.
Why become a U.S Citizen?
Permanent residents enjoy a majority of the same rights as U.S. citizens. There are many important reasons to consider becoming a U.S. citizen, among which are:
- Traveling with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport enables you to receive assistance from the U.S. government when traveling overseas.
- Bringing family members to the U.S. U.S. citizens generally receive priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to the country.
- Obtaining citizenship for children born abroad. In most cases, children born abroad to U.S. citizens are automatically U.S. citizens.
- In-state college tuition. State universities offer college tuition and fees to residents that are significantly lower than for foreign students. For example, University of Florida's 2015 yearly fees and tuition for undergraduate, in-state students is $7,210. For foreign students, it is $29,488.
- Homestead Exemption. Many states have laws in place that benefit resident homeowners and protect them from rising taxes. For example, the Florida Homestead Exemption allows an exemption on the first $50,000 of a resident's primary home's assessed value. Furthermore, increases in assessment shall not exceed the lower of:
- 3% of assessed value from prior year; or
- percentage change in Consumer Price Index.
- Becoming eligible for federal jobs. Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
- Becoming an elected official. Only citizens are permitted run for federal office (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and for most State and local offices.
- Keeping your residency. A U.S. citizen's right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away under any circumstances.
- Becoming eligible for federal grants and scholarships. Many financial aid grants, including college scholarships and funds given by the government for specific purposes, are available only to U.S. citizens.
- Obtaining government benefits. Some government benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.
High standard of living in the US
The standard of living in the United States is one of the top 20 in the world as measured by economists. Per capita income is high but also less evenly distributed than in most other developed countries; as a result, the United States fares particularly well in measures of average material well being.
On comprehensive measures such as the UN Human Development Index the United States is always in the top twenty, currently ranking 5th. On the Human Poverty Index the United States ranked 16th, one rank below the United Kingdom and one rank above Ireland. On the Economist's quality-of-life index the United States ranked 16th, scoring 7.38 out of a possible 10. The highest given score of 8.22 was applied to Switzerland. This particular index takes into account a variety of socio-economic variables including GDP per capita, life expectancy, political stability, family life, community life, gender equality, and job security.
The homeownership rate is relatively high compared to other post-industrial nations. In 2005, 69% of Americans resided in their own homes, roughly the same percentage as in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Israel and Canada. Residents of the United States also enjoy a high access to consumer goods. Americans enjoy more radios per capita than any other nation and more televisions and personal computers per capita than any other large nation.
The median income is $43,318 per household ($26,000 per household member) with 42% of households having two income earners. Meanwhile, the median income of the average American age 25+ was roughly $32,000 ($39,000 if only counting those employed full-time between the ages of 25 to 64) in 2005.
The economy of the United States is the largest national economy in the world in both nominal value and by purchasing power parity. Its nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated as $14.4 trillion in 2008, which is about three times that of the world's second largest economy, Japan. Its GDP by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is almost twice that of the second largest, China.
The U.S. economy maintains a very high level of output per person (GDP per capita, $47,422 in 2008, ranked at around number thirteen in the world). The U.S. economy has maintained a stable overall GDP growth rate, a low unemployment rate, and high levels of research and capital investment funded by both national and, because of decreasing saving rates, increasingly by foreign investors. In 2008, consumer spending made up 2% percent of the economic activity in the U.S.
Since the 1970s, the United States economy has absorbed savings from the rest of the world. Like other developed countries, the United States faces retiring workers who have already begun withdrawing from their Social Security accounts; however, the American population is young and growing when compared to Europe or Japan. The 2008 estimates of the United States public debt were 61% of GDP, about the same as major European countries (as measured by the CIA Factbook and the International Monetary Fund.)
The United States has historically been one of the best-performing developed countries. The American labor market has attracted immigrants from all over the world and has one of the world's highest migration rates. Americans have the highest income per hour worked. The United States is ranked 3rd, down from 1st in 2008-2009 due to the worldwide economic crisis, in the Global Competitiveness Report.
World Economic Forum
The United States, ranked #5 by the World Economic Forum, continues to be endowed with many structural features that make its economy extremely productive and place it on a strong footing to ride out business cycle shifts and economic shocks. However, a number of escalating weaknesses have taken their toll on the U.S. ranking this year.
The United States is home to highly sophisticated and innovative companies operating in very efficient factor markets. The country is also endowed with an excellent university system that collaborates strongly with the business sector in research and development. Combined with the scale opportunities afforded by the sheer size of its domestic economy - the largest in the world by far - these qualities continue to make the United States very competitive. Labor markets are ranked 3rd, characterized by the ease and affordability of hiring workers and significant wage flexibility. The country's goods markets (12th) are also characterized by low levels of distortion within the context of a very competitive environment.
Higher Education in the US
Strong research and funding have helped make American colleges and universities among the world's most prestigious, which is particularly attractive to international students, professors and researchers in the pursuit of academic excellence.
According to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, more than 30 of the highest-ranked 45 institutions are in the United States (as measured by awards and research output). Public universities, private universities, liberal arts colleges and community colleges all have a significant role in higher education in the United States. An even stronger pattern is shown by the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, which includes 103 U.S. universities in the Top 200.
According to UNESCO, the United States has the second largest number of higher education institutions in the world, with a total of 5,758, an average of more than 115 per state. The US also has the highest number of higher education students in the world, a total of 14,261,778 or roughly 4.75% of the total population.