A US judge has temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s travel ban and customs officials have told airlines that they can allow passengers who had been barred from entering the US to board planes.
The travel ban affects people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US and includes an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees as well as a 120 day suspension on all refugee admissions. The order, however, does not apply to naturalized citizens holding dual nationality with or travelling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Protests have taken place all over the world with many Americans saying it doesn’t reflect the place they call home. As the US has often billed itself a nation of immigrants, we asked readers who came to the US and tackled the citizenship process to tell us what becoming a citizen meant to them. From fleeing oppression and finding sanctuary to moving for love, here’s what some of them said.
Walia Hasan, 53, IN and MN: ‘On the day I was naturalized I saw myself as an American and nothing more’
My reason to move to the US were simple – my kids kept getting sick and I saw limited opportunities for my engineering degree in Pakistan. Above all, I wanted my children to have access to the best education.
It took 11 years for me to move from my skilled worker H1B visa to green card to naturalisation in 2007. It has been an emotionally and financially exhausting road. My emotions were frozen at the ceremony. But I came back to my office only to be welcomed by a surprise party with a cake. I had tears in my eyes. The love and support I got from my colleagues made me an American long before my ceremony. My office had people from all over the world. This is what made it so beautiful, and gave me a sense of belonging.
On the day I was naturalized I saw myself as an American and nothing more. Now I see myself as a brown, Muslim, female immigrant. This shift is not intentional. Itis a reflection of how people see me.
JudyB, 92, North Carolina: ‘As a Jewish refugee I felt proud, grateful and hopeful the day I became a citizen’
My Dutch family fled Europe in 1940 as Jewish refugees. It is difficult, 70 years later, to adequately describe my feelings of relief, of the sense of possibilities restored, and of being safe.
I felt proud, grateful and hopeful the day I became a citizen. Proud of being a citizen of the premier land of democracy – the land of hope for people like myself who were forced to flee for our lives. Grateful to those who were now my fellow citizens willing to give us a chance. And hopeful that, as a college student aged 21, I would contribute to the society that helped me. Now I feel sad and ashamed. The very land that welcomed me and my fellow refugees so many years ago has withdrawn its welcome because of unfounded fears into rejection of those in perilous need.
I feel ashamed that while I found acceptance, my country does not offer it to those in similar circumstances. At the age of 92, my abilities are limited but I feel the need to actively oppose the reversal of civil liberties, the curtailment of the use of scientific data, and the denial of climate change that are current policies of my government.
Ashkan Monadjemi, 38, Kenner, LA: ‘I felt a sense of loyalty to my new home’
I am a ship agent who moved to the US from Iran via the diversity immigration visa program. I believe the US is one of the few democracies in the world based on multiculturalism, and when I became a citizen I felt a sense of loyalty to my new home.
Although I am a US citizen I have roots in my home country, Iran. Trump’s executive order is offensive to me and my family. My fiancée was meant to join me but her visa application was stopped due to the ban. How can I call this country my home when I cannot live with the girl I love?
Anonymous, 30s, North Carolina: ‘It was humbling making the oath of allegiance for the first time’
I was born in Singapore which does not recognize dual citizenship. I wavered with the decision for eight years, until 2016, when I decided to naturalize so I could vote and make my voice heard in the presidential election. When I recited the pledge as a child in Singapore, I just parroted the words. So when I made the oath of allegiance for the first time, it was humbling because American citizens are given heavy responsibilities in exchange for their many freedoms, and I was cognizant of that.
As a queer person of color, I have always felt as though I didn’t belong, even where I was born. I feel rather betrayed by the people I live and work with as it seems that they want the fruits of foreign cultures, the cuisines and technologies, the literature and art, but they also refuse the people who have made these things possible. I’m going to keep going, keep resisting until the end. It’s the only option I have and it is my duty as a citizen of the US. That was what I signed up for when I naturalized - what I took on in exchange for the freedoms I gained.
Maia Ettinger, 55, Connecticut: ‘It felt like taking my rightful place among the likes of Bobby Kennedy and Malcolm X’
My mother, who was a Jewish Holocaust survivor, travelled to the US with me in 1967. I was a freshman in college when I turned 18 and applied to become a citizen. My mother was furious – not because I applied, but because a month before my birthday I’d been arrested for protesting the movie Cruising, which was seen as anti-gay.
At the time homosexuality was grounds for denial of citizenship, but I was already a real American who believed in my right to speak out! My mom made me hire a lawyer who got the charges dropped, and my citizenship hearing went off without a hitch. It felt like taking my rightful place among my American heroes, from Bobby Kennedy to Malcolm X.
Wrolf Courtney, 54, Brooklyn, NY: ‘My son was born the day I was scheduled to attend the ceremony’
After moving to the US from Dartford, Kent I decided to become a citizen because of the impending birth of my first son, and our decision to raise our children in New York.
The story of when I was naturalized is a funny one. I had to delay the ceremony because my son was actually born the day I was scheduled to attend. Two months later, my newborn son on my shoulder as the judge led us through reciting the oath, just as we swore “that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States”, the most enormous noise came out of his rear end and echoed around the courtroom. I felt pride then but now I feel anger. In my own small way, I am working to heal that divide by organizing student exchanges, inter -faith group visits, and pen pal programs between republicans and democrats.
Anna, 53, Virginia: ‘The courthouse was filled with people from all over the worldand excitement was palpable’
Having grown up in Russia in the former Soviet Union I emigrated to the US because I wanted to live in a free country. The ceremony was a very touching and meaningful event – the courthouse was filled with people from all over the world and excitement was palpable.
When I went to work the next day my American co-workers had a surprise celebration for me, with cakes, American flags and balloons! It was a very welcoming gesture and a fiercely patriotic one! My small company had only one immigrant – me – and experiencing their excitement over my naturalization felt awesome. Right now I feel both ashamed of my country and proud for our traditions of activism. I raised two kids in this country and watching them and their friends gives me hope for the future of our country.
Phil Ganderton, 59, Albuquerque, NM: ‘At my ceremony there were people from 52 countries’
Essay about I Am Proud to Be An American Soldier
756 Words4 Pages
The United States has long been known for having a military presence that few would dare to challenge. The catalyst has not been in having billions in defense funds, it has not been in having huge weapons of mass destruction, it is the heart and spirit of the soldier. I am very proud to be a part of this long and proud tradition of upholding the ideals set forth in the U.S. Constitution. It is something that I would recommend to all willing and able college students. It instills a sense of pride and satisfaction that is matched by no other. As a soldier, there are many options as far as what type of soldier you wish to be. It is similar to choosing a career in the civilian world. The first step in this process is choosing your…show more content…
If fighting seems likely, this equipment can be rapidly sent to the contested area. Army soldiers are rushed in on large transport planes, who then unload the weapons and supplies from the ships and embark on their mission. Because of the Army’s ability to attack and control large geographic areas, it often becomes the decisive force in conventional (nonnuclear) conflicts. The Navy is an essential part our National Security. It consists of ships, submarines, and aircraft that can be taken throughout any of the world’s oceans. The Navy’s awesome arsenal is nothing without the almost four-hundred thousand soldiers that make it up. With this tremendous force comes tremendous responsibility. The Navy’s chief responsibilities include defending our waters, both foreign and domestic, attacking land targets, and transporting soldiers from all four branches. The importance of the oceans to American security and economic interests makes the U.S. Navy a critical component in the country’s military. The Air Force is responsible for conducting operations in the air and also in space. There are roughly four-hundred thousand soldiers that make up our Air Force. The Air Force plays an essential part in our country’s defense by deploying aircraft, bombing enemy targets, and transporting soldiers. The Air Force also maintains most of our Nation’s nuclear arsenal, as well as most of our military satellites. As our technology becomes more sophisticated, and