My parents cried as we left the auditorium where I had just completed my Oath of Allegiance and received my certificate. My father, trying to hold his composure, says, “I’m just glad there’s finally an American in the family.” I’ve only seen my dad cry twice. The other time was when I was younger and I tried to runaway from home, making it two measly blocks to a friend’s place.
After getting back from the ceremony I locked myself in my room as tears burst out of my eyes like a fire hydrant succumbing to the pressure of all the water it had been suppressing. 22 years, 5 months, 20 days it took the government to give me an opportunity.
Most Americans don’t know what it takes to become a citizen. I doubt most of them would even be able to pass the test we had to take, with questions like, “When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?” and “How many amendments are there?” I’m sure most of the good Christian folks, whose values founded this country, would say 10. Nope, it’s 27.
The thing I found baffling for the first year of having my citizenship was the common misconceptions American’s had when I told them I had just gained naturalization. They would ask, “Why’d you wait so long to become a citizen?” I get it, immigrants are lazy, but you can’t just go into a convenience store and just purchase a citizenship. “Hello good sir. I’ll have one American Citizenship please. Oh and, how much for this Dentyne Ice? Mah breath is kiiiiickin’.” Nope, can’t do that. I know, because my parents owned a convenience store.
“Awwww that sucks, you’re gonna have to start paying taxes now, huh?” Ummmmm, start? We ALWAYS pay our taxes. Being an immigrant trying to become a citizen involves us to always pay the government. My parents, brother and I all pay our taxes and in many immigrant communities it’s socially pushed to pay your taxes. They even as ask for your IRS paperwork during the interview process.
“You’re going to be a terrorist now, aren’t you?” Obviously! Isn’t that the American dream for any immigrant from a predominantly Muslim country? Just kidding NSA. I was jussssst kidding. Please don’t monitor me.
After I received my citizenship, I applied for my parents to get their greencard. My father recently got his in the mail and my mom should be receiving her’s soon. Finally, my whole family will be legal and a burden that we’ve been carrying like donkeys will be lifted. Here’s to my one year of liberty.