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Monday, May 27, 2024

    How I Became An American Citizen

    How I Became An American Citizen: Becoming an American citizen is mostly about following the process and educating yourself. First, you have to apply and make sure you submit all the relevant documents.

    For example, I had to provide proof that I had signed up for Selective Service back in 1989 when I got married and applied for my first green card or Resident Alien card as they call them.

    RELATED: Benefits of Dual Citizenship During A Pandemic

    After your application is approved, you are scheduled for a biometric appointment and at that appointment you are provided with some study materials for your citizenship test.

    You have to know the answers to 100 questions, but they only ask about 10 at the test. If you provided the documentation and your biometrics didn’t turn up any violations you are scheduled for a citizenship test with an immigration officer.

    Some of the questions were – “Who was the president during World War I?”,” Who was Susan B. Anthony?”,” Name one of the two longest rivers in the U.S.A”,” When was the Constitutional Convention?”,” Name one war fought in the 1800’s”, and so forth.

    If you get the opportunity to look up the questions, it is very educational and fun to learn about the history of our country. The officer will also ask you to read a paragraph and to write a sentence in English, plus they ask a variety of other questions.

    If you pass the test you are scheduled for an oath ceremony. My ceremony was Aug. 12, 2020, in Minneapolis and there were about 200 people from all around the world there that day reciting the Oath of Allegiance (which is not the Pledge of Allegiance) in front of a federal U.S judge.

    The oath asks you to give up all loyalty to your old country and to serve and become part of this country. It starts with “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, …” I would highly recommend that people look it up and become familiar with it.

    There also were people who talked about how to get registered to vote and get a U.S. passport. Because of the COVID-19 situation, the people who became U.S. citizens on Aug. 12, all had to be sworn in outside the courthouse in small groups of 12 at a time.

    For the participants and their families it was a very somber and meaningful event. (But maybe not so much for the janitor that casually strolled along and rolled his trash can through my swearing in part of the ceremony).

    I have friends and acquaintances from many different countries who have come to this country and are now U.S. citizens and are hardworking, educated, contributing members of our society because they all value their citizenship very much.

    One of the handouts you get and some of the things you learn as you study for your test is that when you become a U.S. citizen, you get several rights such as the right to: vote in federal elections, serve on a jury, run for federal office, etc..

    But, you also get several responsibilities, such as you must: participate in your local community, respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others, respect and obey federal, state and local laws, etc.

    There are several more and if you don’t remember them from civics class they are a fun study.

    I don’t think it matters if you come from Stratton, Canada; Monrovia, Liberia or Roskilde, Denmark, when you become a U.S. citizens, you confirm that you really want to be a part of your community to give back in a positive way so you too can help build a great town, city, county and this great United States of America for yourself, your family, friends and neighbors.


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