The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Frustrations behind becoming an American citizen

I am a legal alien. I have legally lived, learned and worked in this country with my mouth shut for 21 years. I am currently going through the process of becoming a naturalized citizen.

It’s college stress all over again. What if I don’t get in?

As an immigrant living in the US during these controversial immigrant issue times, my naturalization is actually worrying me. I mean, with all that’s happening lately I could very well be shut down for any number of reasons. They could pass a law tomorrow and close the doors, couldn’t they? I’d have to be deported back to the Caribbean ? hmmm, a free trip to stay with the rest of my family and live in paradise forever? Noooo, I’ve already paid. (Rats!)

So far my process of becoming a naturalized citizen is in the second to last step. I sent in my money and application and got finger printed about a month ago. Now all I need is an interview before taking the oath.

There are so many different stories of what happens at an interview and I have so many questions. Is it like the typical job interview? Is it like a date? Will the interviewer say that they will “call me sometime,” knowing that they never will, thus my deportation to paradise? Will I be asked all the states’ capitals? Or the presidents? Or all the monuments? Do you see my dilemma here?

What I’m thinking usually happens at these interviews is they ask questions to see how good of an American you are to be given the right to vote, and if your English is understandable. Well, I’ve been quiet long enough and I think I deserve to say a peep in my “21 years of practicing” English.

I hope the interviewer sees that I know this country’s history well enough to not betray it and grant me citizenship on the spot. I really don’t want to waste my time in taking the trivial 5th grade-level U.S. history test, which could then tack on another month of getting my citizenship.

I don’t know what took me so long to finally decide to become a citizen of the United States. I think it was the combination of handing over $400 of MY money, along with a piece of my culture.

I am Dominican and as a Dominican the top three things we deathly protect are our traditional food, Meringue dancing, and how we celebrate our Christmas holiday. Pssst, if you’ve never had the best Christmas of your life on a clear beach, with 76 of your first cousins, dancing, singing and eating, put it on your “to do” list ASAP.

I don’t think I could have given a piece of my culture up.

I am not sure if when I take the oath of allegiance and “give up prior allegiances to other countries,” if that ncludes my culture.

But this country hasn’t taken my culture away; it wasn’t made for that.

Even though I’ll have an American citizenship, I know my immigrant spirit will not leave the country of my heart.

Yohanna Figueroa can be reached at

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