Feb 4, 2016


After receiving some pretty tragic news last night about a family member and feeling devastated about it, I had to rally and get ready today for my Oath Ceremony.

We left the house pretty early, because parking is impossible on swear in days. On the way there we had to U-turn and take another route because there was a three-car and a school bus accident (no one was badly injured).

We made it there with plenty of time and I sat with my family (aunts, uncle, my mom, dad and husband) waiting to be called to the ceremony room.

It’s funny because all this time I have felt this fear and apprehension towards the USCIS agents and today they were all ebullient and smiley. They took our resident cards, never to be seen again and handed us all a packet with a holder for the naturalization certificate, a passport application, a booklet about voter registration, an envelope with a letter from President Obama, a small book with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, a Citizen’s Almanac and a page with the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem and the Oath of Allegiance, and a little US flag.

People were actually late, I cannot even fathom it. I have waited so long for this moment that I can’t understand why everyone wasn’t there early or on time. We had to wait until everyone showed up and it started 45 minutes after schedule.

There were 86 of us being sworn in, 32 nationalities, or former nationalities I should say now.

We sang the anthem and saw a video and then the ceremony started. The USCIS Agent spoke fondly of how moments like these ones were what made her job the best job. I could tell she was so excited and happy for us, I don’t think you can fake her enthusiasm and I knew then she is chosen to give the speech at the ceremonies because she feels and believes what she is saying and we new citizens feel moved and appreciated by it.

They called every former nationality (made sure to impress that upon us) and when Colombia was named, eight of us stood up.

I hope people understand that as much as we all want to be citizens, we do not do so lightly. At least I did not do it lightly. I stood there renouncing my born country and I did it honestly, with all my heart because this is my home country now, but it is with a little pain that you let go of that.

After all former nationalities were called, we raised our right hand and pledged our loyalty to the United States of America. To give up loyalty any other country or sovereignty that we were citizens or subjects to, to defend and protect her from all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.

The lady in front of me was sobbing so hard, I had doubt she actually said the oath out loud.
I had my moments, when tears clouded my eyes, and a knot in my throat made it hard to swallow but they were happy tears (especially when the President spoke to us, welcoming us as US Citizens, what can I say? I love me some Obama)

We waved our flag and smiled and then received our certificates, so crisp and pretty, with our picture in them.We left our numbered chairs to be hugged and kissed by our families and loved ones, by those who stood by us and held our hands and dried our tears and helped us throughout this journey. Dear Husband was in tears, so was my mom and aunts and uncles. I laughed and smiled and kissed them and hugged and just felt overwhelmed by love from them. There they were crying for me and I was so excited and hopeful and in disbelief that I was unable to shed one single tear.

We took a picture in front of the Department of Homeland Security Flag and the US Flag and it felt all sorts of surreal.

I know some people have very heated feelings about immigrants and why we are here and what we do, I know sometimes they don’t know us, our stories, and our reasons. I know sometimes they hate us, sometimes they fear us and I wish they could see inside my heart and my head and know that I am like so many others out there and they are trying to get to where I am. I love this country, I love its people, this is my home now, I will protect it and defend it and do my best to make it even better because it’s officially mine now too. Don’t worry, I won’t let it down.


ebi said...

I remember the first time you started posting. You cracked me up.
Unfortunately some of us are still in the same position that you used to be in. Praying that eventually there's a solution that doesn't involve marriage and exploitation.
I agree with marriage for love, but something doesnt sit well with me with marriage for a greencard. lol. The DACA program was a good and logical step, to help some of get on our feet through employment, and being able to actually contribute to society without going under the table, but lord knows what'll happen after Obama leaves.
Oh well, may the Lord continue to be with us all, and have mercy on us.
Once again, I rejoice with you.

Mel82 said...

Thank you so much for still reading and for being happy for me. I know how you feel, sometimes I felt this level of despair that some people didn't understand. To them, being legal was just a piece of paper, they didn't understand how much that piece of paper defines you in every way, how it affects your daily life, your plans for the future, how it touches everything.

There were moments when I thought I would have to leave and just give up because I couldn't wait anymore, it was affecting my moods, my health, my relationships. I felt so damned trapped, you know? No way to figure out, no way to solve it but not wanting to abandon everything you have accomplished so far and the life you've made.

I agree that I wouldn't have been able to marry for papers, that's why it took so long for pretty much all my family members, they have all looked for alternative and legal ways to stay here that don't include a sham marriage. The options, however, are pretty low. Marriage is the easiest and fastest way to get papers, the way that the process is handled now, it encourages people to take that as the easiest option, it fosters sham weddings for papers, because what other option is there?

I hope soon there is an alternative for all those like you and a few of my family and friends who want to make this country their home, work hard and be safe, that's all we are looking for. A place to call home that isn't dangerous like some of our home countries are. I am as worried as you about what the future administration will bring. How many steps backwards it will take.

I would encourage you to keep trying and keep working towards a resolution for your situation, I am glad so many people talked me out of quitting when I was ready to leave. I am not the praying kind, but I will send all the good juju your way, hoping that soon you will be holding your resident card and having that crushing weight lifted off your shoulders.

Ebizzle said...

: gasp : I am. BEYOND. grateful for your reply, and your encouragement. I'm not into the juju-ness, but I will glady claim that positive part and use it to find other ways to go about this, the logical and legal way without leaving the country. I look forward to reading more from your adventures.
What will Mel do next with her new found freedom, find out on the next episode of Dairy of an Illegal Immigrant
:outro music:

KG said...

Hi I was wondering if you would have sometime to chat about your experience. I find myself on the same path. You could email me at karena13@live.cm