Fourth of July, 2011.

Happy 235th Birthday to the United States of America!

I recently had the good fortune to observe a naturalization ceremony. My friend Ear33wig finally became an American citizen last week. I sat with his wife of five years, C, and watched as the newly minted citizens marched in with their Certificates of Naturalization, said the Pledge of Allegiance, took the Oath of Citizenship, watched a brief message from President Obama, and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The ceremony was topped off by the playing of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A,” accompanied by a very patriotic video. At first glance it seemed a little bit cheesy, but I suppose that’s because I’m used to being an American. I was reminded of the magnitude of that blessing by the audience members who sang along and waved their flags, more than a few of them with joyous tears streaming down their cheeks. It was beautiful.

At the end of the ceremony, each new citizen was introduced to the audience as, for example, “John Smith from England.” Ear33wig said there were folks from 44 different countries. I said that since they’d taken the oath already, the announcer should have said “from the United States of America” after each name.

On the way out the door, I asked Ear33wig and C about the financial cost of becoming a citizen. I won’t repeat it here, not because of respect for their privacy but because I don’t remember. It was expensive enough that I opined that offering blanket amnesty and citizenship to illegal immigrants would be a slap in the face to those who went through the proper channels. Look at all the trouble Ear33wig went through to become a citizen– paying all that money, filling out all that paperwork, learning to spell “flavor” and “color” correctly, being married to C, talking to all those lawyers. The illegal immigrants should have to go through the same ringer.

P.S. Happy 139th Birthday to Calvin Coolidge!

11 comments

  1. I witnessed the ceremony for my wife (11 years ago today in fact) and it was incredibly inspirational. The people were happy, relieved, and near tears; above all you got the sense that they finally felt like the promise of this country was 100% theirs. I’ve rarely felt such a direct feeling of pride in my country than when I was there….

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  2. My mother is only a resident alien and the process was extremely difficult and demeaning for her – AND she was married to an American citizen and had a child who already held bonafide American citizenship. Without her advantageous family ties, receiving her green card would have been near impossible (and she’s a western European female).

    Although blanket amnesty is an unrealistic, overly optimistic would-be solution, I think we do need to come to terms with the fact that the immigration system is flawed and needs serious reform.

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  3. Blonde:

    Doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut Doughnut. Doughnut dou’ghnut doughnut dough’nut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut. Doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut “doughnut doughnut doughnut” doughnut doughnut, doughnut D’oughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut.

    (Doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut doughnut.)

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  4. We go back to school in mid-August. If you would like to give me the doughnut (and therefore decode my previous comment) before then, here are some suggestions:

    1. Purchase or make a fresh doughnut. Go to the rooftop of City Hall at nighttime. You will find a customized searchlight. Aim it at the clouds, flip it on, and I’ll be there in under four minutes. Have the doughnut ready.

    2. Purchase or make a fresh doughnut at 8AM. Carry it around everywhere you go on the off-chance you run into me. If you haven’t seen me by 1PM that day, then eat, throw out, or give away that doughnut and go buy or make another fresh doughnut. If you haven’t seen me by 6PM, then eat, throw out, or give away that doughnut. Try again the next day. Repeat as often as necessary until I get the doughnut.

    3. (Variation of #2) Ask your friends and relatives to purchase or make fresh doughnuts, and carry them around with the intention of giving one to me. When one of them succeeds, be sure to thank and reimburse that person.

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  5. Elaborate on mid-August. I move back to tourist-central on the 15th, and will more than likely be enjoying the Keys the week before. Doughnut-less.

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  6. Nice post…and I agree with you re: the things that I thought were cheesy that were so inspirational to others…I do take so many things for granted…

    In case anyone is interested…

    “Filing Fee :
    $595 (Add $85 biometric fee for a total of $680, where applicable. See form instructions for payment details.) No fee is required for military applicants filing under Section 328 and 329 of the INA. Applicants 75 years of age or older are not charged a biometric fee. ”

    from http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=480ccac09aa5d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=40a9b2149e7df110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD

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  7. Oh and by the way…

    – to file for a green card based on marriage (in other words to get into this country to live with your spouse) the filing fee is $420.

    – two years later you have to “remove” conditions…to make your conditional green card a 10 year one… the filing fee is $590

    so…

    420+590+680=$1690 from start to finish….

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  8. I should still be in town and back to unemployment on the 8th and 9th – I can try my hand at doughnut delivery then.

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