Immigration leads to naturalization for Laurel woman

By: 
Brad Molnar
Special to the Outlook
Doc and Jinxiu with Naturalization Ceremony schedule.
Jinxiu

On the last Thursday of July 33 people from 19countries covering five continents, and sporting a rainbow of skin colors raised their hands and pledged to defend the United States of America and its Constitution. They joined an estimated 650,000 other immigrants that have or will be granted citizenship in 2017 (down from 1,000,000 in 2008). To move from green card holder to U.S. citizen each immigrant must:
• Be at least 18 years of age;
• Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
• Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years;
• Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months;
• Be a person of good moral character;
• Be able to speak, read, write and understand the English language;
• Have knowledge of U.S. government and history; and
• Be willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance
About 27 percent of America’s population is comprised of legal immigrants, naturalized citizens and their children. The fastest growing group of legal immigrants comes from India. The largest group comes from Mexico, but the Wall Street Journal reports recently that if you combine the immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan, then China edges out Mexico. In this microcosm four came from Mexico and three were from mainland China.
Before the swearing-in ceremony, each applicant was reminded they had to audibly say the Oath and not just move their lips. They were also reminded by the Honorable Timothy Cavan that new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s wife is a naturalized citizen and honoring their new right to vote was more an obligation than a discretionary activity.
First on the list was Amal Salem Al-Misbahi, a diminutive, somber, shy, lady from Yeman. Amal Salem wore a broad smile and a silk scarf sporting white stars with red and white stripes. Yeman is one of the countries targeted by the Trump administration for “extreme vetting” to receive a travel visa because it was on the Obama “nations of concern” watch list.
Another taking the oath was Jinxiu Leichner of Laurel, Mont. hailing from Chengdu, China. She married Wayne “Doc” Leichner in China about seven years ago and they returned to the U.S. five years ago. When asked what citizenship meant to her she responded, “Freedom. In China not freedom of speech. I love here…people…weather…everything. Here can fish and hunt. In China can not touch gun…will go to jail. My husband worked very hard help me pass the test.”
During roll call, as each name was called out, family and friends cheered. But the reciting of the Oath of Allegiance was somber rather than the colorful pageantry that marked the rest of the ceremony. The oath is: “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, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
While the path that led those 33 individuals to James F. Battin U.S. District Courthouse was unique to each, the dedication to the oath was plain on the face of all.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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