70 Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX – The United States welcomed 70 new citizens during a naturalization ceremony Wednesday at Angelo State University.
The event was a momentous occasion for applicants and their families who underwent a long and complicated process to become naturalized citizens. During the ceremony 16 countries were represented. The oldest applicant was Mi Kyong Tatum, born in 1945, and the youngest was Mahira Judith Tapia Corpus, born in 2001.
Judge John R. Parker welcomed the applicants by sharing the immigrant story of his ancestors in this country. As the great-grandson of Irish immigrants, he understood the desire of many to come to a new country in search of a better life. He commended the applicants for working so diligently to pass the citizenship test and for having to overcome language barriers to get to this moment. He acknowledged that many native-born citizens may not be able to pass the citizenship test the applicants were required to take.
“I’ve reviewed the exam that you had to take, and I would guess that there are many of those of us who are born in this country would have difficulty passing that exam,” said Judge Parker. “The fact that you were able to do it…speaks volumes of your dedication, your perseverance, and your hard work to get to this point. You should be very proud of yourselves.”
WATCH: Naturalization Ceremony @ Angelo State University | December 4,2019
He reminded everyone that the very fabric of this country was woven with immigrants' stories and that except for the Native Americans who were here long before any settlers, everyone came from somewhere else. During his speech, he acknowledged the rich treasures that immigrants from all over the world have brought to the United States and the impact that has had in the development of this nation. He urged every applicant to be proud of their heritage.
“Each of you has brought rich treasures of culture and perspective to this country and for that we thank you. You have every right to be proud of your heritage, all we ask is that you allow us to share that pride with you.”
He also acknowledged that one the country’s greatest asset is diversity, especially in ideas.
Dr. John E. Klingemann, Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities at Angelo State, was the guest speaker at the ceremony and shared his own family history with immigration and the connection of cultures. Dr. Klingemann is the son of a Mexican immigrant and a sixth-generation Texan descendant of German immigrants. He congratulated the applicants on their hard work and reminded them of the importance of being engaged citizens and exercising every right they were granted as American citizens.
“As a nation our history has been inextricably linked to immigration. America’s fabric remains strong because of its citizens. Citizenship brings us together; whether its during tough times or at Friday night sporting events.”
During the ceremony, the applicants were asked to stand and proclaim their oath of allegiance to the United States as well as recite the pledge of allegiance. Each applicant was presented with a certificate and cheered on by their family members and friends in attendance. Families and friends hugged and congratulated their loved ones after the ceremony was concluded.
Outside of the CJ Davidson Conference Center, two voter registration booths were set up to allow the new American citizens to exercise one of their most important rights, the right to have their voice heard during elections.
Judge Parker asked applicants to please stand when their birth country was called. The applicants originated from the following countries: Cambodia (2), China (1), Finland (1),Guyana (1) India (4),Mexico (40), Netherlands (1), Nicaragua (1), Nigeria (1), Pakistan (1), Philippines (11), Russia (1), South Africa (1), South Korea (1), United Kingdom (1), Vietnam (2).
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