My Experience: I spent two whole days volunteering for the NAC. The first day was very interesting. I got to meet the people who have just taken the first steps of applying for citizen. It was very interesting as I got to hear the about the stories of the new applicants—why they are here and what they hope to achieve—as well as help and guide them along the paper work of citizenship.
While all the backgrounds of the prospective applicants were very interesting, some of the stories were sombering. Just like what we hear every day, the plight of the Venezuelans is no lie. A couple applicants had to leave behind their elderly parents and abandon their own children with other relatives. During this experience, I had a hands-on undertaking with the tedious and confusing paper-work applicants had to complete. Just some information needed includes income statements, employment history, all the destinations visited along with their durations for the past years, and the backgrounds of relatives (if any) of family members who live in the country.
The second visit to the NAC was not as much fun. The day was spent copying, filing, and delivering papers of prospective applicants. While this day was not as entertaining as the first, it was nonetheless a valuable one as I got a behind the scenes look at what the staff do when processing application. The staff of the NAC work very hard and deal with suffering mountains of bureaucracy and paperwork.
What does this mean for migration?: Due to my experience, I learned why the process of gaining a US citizenship can be considered a tortuous one. Today, the means being granted citizenship is no longer relatively simple as it was a century ago when immigrants were arriving on Ellis Island by ship. Just the mechanism of gaining a green card, which has a line of four million people, could take decades for some (NPR). Fortunately, there are programs such as the NAC that help streamline the application process and contribute lawyers to support the candidates.