How much do you truly know about the ins and outs of being an American citizen? You're probably thinking, "Well a lot" if you happen to be a citizen, but if you were born in this country and therefore never had to take the notoriously difficult United States Citizenship Test you might be surprised at just how much you don't know. But Silvia Hildalgo, author of the new book How to Be an American: A Field Guide to Citizenship, out now, is going to help you out with that. Bustle has an excerpt from the book below.
Hidalgo, an artist and graphic designer, was born in Costa Rica and moved to the U.S. in 1998. When she decided to begin the American naturalization process in 2015, she quickly found that the materials provided by the government for the citizenship test were lacking. In order to more easily absorb the information, Hidalgo started her own illustrated reference to civics facts and American history essentials. Her personal study booklet was the inspiration behind How to Be an American, which expands upon the information for a freshly designed and illustrated two-color guide to all things America.
In 2018, the immigration debate in the U.S. has reached a critical point, particularly in the Latinx community. Families seeking asylum were separated at the border in what has been one of the biggest ongoing civil rights controversies of the Trump presidency. It has been reported that Latinx have been denied passports, in just one instance of the insititutionalized racism that has been pervasive in this administration. It goes without saying that Hildalgo's book could be more important now than ever, for anyone who to be as informed about the rights and requirements of U.S. citizenship as possible.
In the below excerpt from the section titled "A Nation of Immigrants" Hidalgo breaks down a timeline of the people that have made up what we now know of as the United States, from the age of colonization that began in 1500, up until our modern day community of over 43 million immigrants.
The best way to support the immigrant community — and, really, every person who calls the U.S. home today — is by learning everything you can about the country, its government, and the rights of its people. Get informed about everything from the branches of government to the history of politics, by picking up How to Be an American, which is on shelves now.