It is the coldest day of winter so far. Well below zero. We are up before sunrise and loading the baby in the car because today is the day I become an American citizen. I have lived in this country since I was 11 but as I was brought here and did not come by choice, my decision was a long time in coming. My wish was to become an American before the vote in November so that I could vote for Barack Obama. I missed out by several months but for his inauguration, I will be one of you.
I am sitting with my fellow immigrants. I have a mixture of emotions. Fear, a slight tinge of sadness, but mostly I feel joy. The wait in the courtroom is long but we don’t mind. We have all been waiting a long time for this day and we approach it with determination.
Soon the judge is before us and we pledge ourselves to this country, the United States of America. We were not born here but we choose to remain here among you, as one of you.
Today, I pledge myself to you again, my fellow Americans. I pledge myself to you citizens, and immigrants, and I especially pledge myself to those of you who are the most vulnerable, including the undocumented, who are still protected under our laws.
I face these dark days with my heart full of love for this country and her people and though I resist the terrifying change before us, I am still one of you and will be forevermore.