End of the long road: 199 immigrants become Americans at Cerritos - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Education

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

End of the long road: 199 immigrants become Americans at Cerritos

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2007 11:00 pm

It was a packed auditorium Wednesday morning at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School, where 199 immigrants from 48 countries stood to take the last step to becoming full-fledged U.S. citizens. From places as disparate as Mexico, China, Iraq and New Zealand, the day was a culmination of anywhere between five and 15 years of waiting for some of them. But this was it. "Congratulations," said speaker Slade Mead, a former state senator and Ahwatukee Foothills resident. "It's fun to be in the same nation as you." The event was particularly meaningful to one participant: Ahwatukee Foothills resident and popular Cerritos teacher aide Karol Pacheco. It was her transition from Mexican national to U.S. citizen that prompted the naturalization ceremony to be held in the school's auditorium. "I'm going to try not to cry," Mead said, visibly pleased. "I got a phone call from Mrs. Karol saying she was going to be a citizen and could she come to the ceremony. The excitement in that phone call was electric." And indeed, after Pacheco and the other 198 immigrants took the U.S. Oath of Citizenship, her demeanor was still charged. "I am very happy," Pacheco said, all smiles. "This is a great country with great people." The event, which usually takes place in a federal courthouse and was presided over by U.S. District Judge David Duncan, was put together by the school and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS). The previous citizenship ceremony to take place in the Kyrene School District occurred 15 years ago. Marie Sebrechts, spokeswoman for the UCIS, said holding the events in public places for communities to see was part of the institution's goals since being created four years ago as a part of the Department of Homeland Security. "We do it pretty frequently," Sebrechts said. "It's a big commitment of time and personnel to go out to the community. We can't do it every single week, but we're doing a lot of special ceremonies this year." Sebrechts added the UCIS had been interested in getting more community members out to see events like these to understand the finish line in what can be a long and slow-moving process. "In general, they're not aware we have people becoming naturalized literally every week in this country. We have about 700,000 a year becoming citizens, and most people don't know the story and don't see the process." One person who was happy to see the process was 9-year-old Sam Rosenberg, a Cerritos student and Boy Scout who was there to perform the presentation of colors. "It was very, very cool because I got to see people who became U.S. citizens," Sam said. The path to citizenship can be exceptionally long, depending on individual circumstances. Pacheco, for example, married a U.S. citizen and still had to wait over 15 years for her day to come. Others can go through faster, especially in circumstances of political asylum, but even their journey can last a half-dozen years. One such man who became an American Wednesday was in such a circumstance. After the event the man, a Ghanaian who wasn't identified, approached Mead to personally thank him for the U.S.'s openness to accepting immigrants from dangerous parts of the world. "I want to thank you for helping the refugees; those who have no hope." Sebrechts said events like Wednesday's were good for community members, and especially for the children in attendance. "People come through this struggle and come to this day and it's really valuable to help us remember our country's heritage. We forget our country is made up of people from all over the world, and that's what makes our country so unique: the minute you're a citizen, we're all the same." --Jason Ludwig can be reached at (480) 898-7916 or jludwig@aztrib.com.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Gov. Brown Appoints New Public Utility Commissioners to Replace Florio and Sandoval

Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen both come from the governor’s office with strong environmental protection backgrounds. Martha …

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:14 am @ https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/gov.-…

Kerry’s Blunt Words for Israel Denounced by Lawmakers in Both Parties

A bipartisan chorus of lawmakers, upset with President Obama’s decision last week to allow the passage of a United Nations resolution condemni…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:14 am @ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/us/politics/john…

Obama preparing to penalize Russia for hacking

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing to penalize Russia over the hacking of Democratic officials during this year's presidential…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:16 am @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/1…

Mail truck tips on Mesa street

MESA, Ariz. - A mail truck ended up on its side in a crash Wednesday. Mesa police say a single-vehicle collision left the United States Postal…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:12 am @ http://www.12news.com/news/local/valley/mail-truck…

Reports of mall disturbances light up social media

A flurry of reports of mall melees and disturbances rippled across social media Monday on a day Americans swarmed shopping hubs for post-holid…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 9:51 am @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/12/…

Graham, McCain want Russia sanctions after election hacking

Top Republican senators said Wednesday that the incoming Congress and President-elect Donald Trump should impose new and tougher sanctions on …

Published: December 31, 2016 - 9:13 am @ http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/28/graham-…

Immigration Is the Only Hope for States That Helped Trump

The decline of manufacturing does not explain the decline of Wisconsin. Photographer: Daniel Acker/BloombergFacebook Twitter Email Print Share…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 7:17 am @ https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-28…

Creator of the Red Solo Cup dies at 84

FOX 32 NEWS - The creator of the Red Solo Cup died on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the age of 84. Robert Leo Hulseman lived in Northfield, …

Published: December 31, 2016 - 7:07 am @ http://www.fox4news.com/trending/225996868-story

12 Cars You Can Legally Import to the US in 2017

slide-4320347 There were plenty of great vehicles produced abroad that Americans (outside of Canada) haven't been able to import until they hi…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 7:06 am @ http://www.autoblog.com/photos/cars-you-can-legall…

Raw sewage bubbles out of ground, Mesa apartment residents fed up

MESA, AZ - People who live at one apartment complex in Mesa said they have a problem that stinks — raw sewage bubbling up out of the ground an…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 6:35 am @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…