BY FREDA MIKLIN
On November 15, 23 children and young adults, from age six to 18, received citizenship certificates at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Denver Field Office. The Oath of Allegiance was administered by Sarah Kendall, USCIS Central Region director, who came from Washington, D.C. for the occasion.
The children, who were born in the countries of Burma/Myanmar, Congo, Ethiopia, Germany, Iraq, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Syria, Tanzania, and Vietnam, derived their citizenship through their parents. Most of the parents were immigrants who had previously become naturalized citizens, though some were adopted by parents who were already U.S. citizens or born abroad to U.S. citizen parents.
Congratulatory remarks were delivered by Gerald Cross, who was born in Germany in 1950 and orphaned at the age of one. One year later, he was adopted by a captain in the U.S. Air Force and his wife. Cross was naturalized in 1959 by a judge in a federal courthouse but never had a ceremony or took the Oath of Allegiance, something he always wanted to do, so he did so on this day, along with the other new, younger citizens in the room.
Cross told the new citizens, “You continue to follow the long line of immigrants to the United States, for over 200 years, from all over the world. People come here to improve their lives, seek religious freedom, and flee oppression and war. You are part of the melting pot that makes America diverse and great.” He said that his favorite line from the play, “Hamilton,” is, “We’re immigrants. We get the job done.”
Continuing, Cross added, “One of your main duties in the oath you just took is to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Do not take this responsibility lightly. Your right to vote is the most sacred right that you have as an American citizen. Please use it wisely when you grow up. Vote in every election and learn about the issues…The results of elections…have impact on your way of life…and your civil rights…An educated electorate is what we need to keep our country strong.”
USCIS.gov provides information and resources for those considering U.S. citizenship. Specifically, they can be found at uscis.gov/tools and uscis.gov/citizenship. Other resources can be found at the USCIS YouTube page, including the “Applying for Citizenship Online” video that helps someone fill out the online application to become a U.S. citizen. Those preparing for the civics test can practice by downloading the USCIS Civics Test Study tools app.