To answer the question of how can someone get U.S. citizenship seems to be fairly straightforward, but with the bureaucratic red tape involved, the process is anything but. Of course, the services of a competent immigration attorney can help the process along.
The rule for those seeking to become a U.S. citizen are governed by Congress, and carries certain requirements. Typically, applicants have to have lived in the U.S. legally for five years, or three if married to a U.S. citizen. Recently, the process for those that have served in the U.S. armed services for at least one year is fast tracked. Also, they must be of good moral character meaning no felony convictions, be of sound mind and body in the judgment of immigration officials. Knowledge of the Constitution, as well as being able to speak and understand English rounds out the requirements.
Where things go awry is that multiple agencies are involved in the initial entry into the U.S. (Citizenship and Immigration Services, ICE, Homeland Security, State Department). CIS is in charge of issuing the papers that allow someone to remain the U.S. legally, and they are swamped with millions of applications. The final step involves the immigration courts, and they are additionally swamped with illegal aliens, leaving little time or resources for legal immigration matters. An immigration attorney can be invaluable as they can advise on what forms need to be filed with which agency, and make sure that the application is fully and properly filled out. Considering the serious backlog, any forms not done correctly are going to get kicked back or denied. This continues all the way through the court system; if the paperwork is not perfect, it will delay or deny the application.
Because of the multiple agencies, the requirements get even more muddled. Many times, an immigrant has to show they can either financially support themselves or have work lined up (sponsorship). This will typically affect all but the most highly educated or wealth. Even marriage requires a marriage visa be filed or the spouse is considered an illegal alien. Again, a good immigration attorney can advise on the proper course of action and make sure that the right form gets filed with the right people, and in the right manner.
Gaining citizenship, as difficult as it may seem, is much easier with the assistance of an Immigration Attorney.