Becoming an American citizen
Becoming a US citizen is a gift beyond my own efforts.
On February 22, 2018, I became a US citizen – a privilege given to me through life circumstances. I am very grateful to become an American citizen.
I cried mixed tears when I became an American citizen. I cried the tears of happiness and the tears of sadness. I was happy to become part of something bigger. Something that I can feel a connection to.
A place that I could call home and really learn how to accept myself as a person who deserves to be valuable and appreciated.
When I became a citizen of this country, I felt something in me. I felt a sense of belonging despite the unspoken divisions among the American citizens themselves. I felt like I could finally be born again. I felt love and pride.
I can only speak for my own experiences in the life I have lived. I can only speak regarding my environment and my thought process when I asked myself, “Why can’t I go outside of the refugee camp and really chase my dream?” What kind of sin have I committed? You can imagine how I felt growing up in exile, feeling the warmth of the sun but having no way out.
I suppose I felt the way I did because of the way I grew up. I grew up as a rejected human being, so to speak.
This is how I felt growing up in the refugee camp. Living a rejection of everyday life. A rejection of the longing to live as a citizen in a place that I could call home. A rejection of being allowed to freely search for life opportunities without a fence to stop me.
However, I appreciated the perks that come with being a global citizen. Such as being fed by the rest of the world and people you will never meet, and receiving second-hand clothes to wear and donated shoes to walk in. At the same time, I craved the first-hand experience of what life would be like to live in a country without being tied to stay in a refugee camp. I longed to live in a country that I can love because it’s mine to care for.
I would think to myself: “What would it be like to live in a country outside of a refugee camp? What would life look like if I had access to opportunities that would allow me to grow and have a chance to follow my dream?” All I ever hoped for was to live outside of the refugee camp. That is all I ever wanted.
In the year of 2008, my family came to the United States as refugees.
Ten years later, I became an American citizen. I still run out of words to express what it means for me to become a naturalized citizen.
Becoming a citizen of the United States of America was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my life. I did not become a citizen through my parents. I was already an adult when my parents became citizens of this country.
USAHello propose un cours en ligne gratuit pour vous aider à vous préparer au test de naturalisation (citoyenneté).
At age 23, I became an American citizen because I had options; I chose to become one.
It was not an easy choice to make because I knew very well that I had to take an oath to fully commit to my new country. I had to give up on something I never had. A feeling that I have always wanted to feel: to walk in the country that birthed me as its citizen. I cried mixed tears when I became an American citizen. Tears of joy of becoming part of something that is beyond my reach and my own efforts. An opportunity of a lifetime that I never thought I would ever get in my wildest thoughts. But I also cried the tears of sadness. The tears were heavy on my heart. It was more a kind of pain I never felt before. I cried the tears of giving up on something that I never had.
I remember taking the oath. I remember reciting these words. I remember leaving the past behind me and embracing a new future. Now that I am an American citizen, I truly believe my future is a future that I can invest in with my whole heart to chase the American dream.
Wilson shares what it means to become an American citizen.
The Oath of Allegiance
« 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” (USCIS, 2018).
Becoming an American citizen is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
I am excited about all the opportunities that come with being a U.S. citizen:
I am excited to have one US passport that will make it easier for me to travel without endangering my life. As a citizen, I can get assistance from the US government when I need help and I am outside of the United States.
Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. Therefore, becoming a citizen of the United States means I too can vote in federal elections.
- Bringing a family member
As a citizen, I can get priority in bringing a family member to this country.
- Elected official
As a citizen, I can be elected to an office that requires citizenship; and I become eligible to work in federal jobs.
Finally, becoming a citizen of this country means showing love and patriotism to a country that has adopted me. I am glad that I was able to study for my citizenship by enrolling in the USAHello’s Citizenship course.