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Nationality, identity and the pledge of allegiance
The author, Moni Basu, center, says the Pledge of Allegiance at her naturalization ceremony in 2008.
July 4th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Nationality, identity and the pledge of allegiance

Editor's note: This is part of a series exploring the concept of American exceptionalism. Earlier, we examined its effect on politics and areas in which other countries lead the way.

By Moni Basu, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) When the moment finally arrived, 86 of us stood up to utter 31 sacred words.

I raised my right hand. My heart was pounding. All those years spent in public schools in America, I'd refrained from saying the Pledge of Allegiance. It was wrong to say it when my loyalties lay elsewhere.

But that changed with a ceremony on a July day four years ago. And it changed me. I learned lessons about the meaning of country and more importantly, about myself.

I'd been in America almost three decades but happily retained an Indian passport. Over the years, each time it was renewed, my green card changed to pink and white but the status remained the same: permanent U.S. resident.

I'd lived here so long that I felt just as much American as I did Indian, but I had my reasons for not taking that last formal step that made my Americanness official.

One was practical there was a matter of inheriting my father's property in Kolkata, India, and for a long time, that process was excruciatingly painful without Indian citizenship. My father knew what a bureaucratic nightmare inheritance could be, and as long as he was alive, he encouraged me to stay an Indian.

The other reason I held back was far more personal.

India does not allow dual citizenship with the United States, and assuming U.S. citizenship would effectively mean renouncing India. That felt like betrayal, a severance with the land that gave me birth and shaped me.

I spent a chunk of my childhood in India. When my family finally settled in the United States, I struggled to find myself.

I learned to speak English well, even with a twinge of Southern drawl, some would say. I went to high school dances and loved my Levi’s and even went out on dates, something I would never have done in India at that time.

But I never felt fully accepted.

I was always an "other" on forms that asked for race and ethnicity, before the days when Asian-American became a census category. In high school and college, I found myself fighting stereotypes and answering absurd questions about India, such as "do people live in grass huts?"

Sometimes, I felt Americans simply didn't understand me and that everything would be better if I could just go back to India.

The yearning for home and family grew stronger with age, especially after my parents moved back to India in 1985. I felt a need to rediscover my roots, not uncommon, I suppose, among immigrant children.

But every time I returned home to visit, I realized I could never feel fully at home in India anymore. I was too Americanized. A memsahib, the elders in my family joked, referring to the term for British women during colonial times.

That, too, is not uncommon among immigrant children. Many of us feel neither here nor there, straddling two cultures as we navigate key years of our lives.

In my case, I was happy to go on as a citizen of one country, a resident of another.

I paid my taxes and enjoyed all the freedoms afforded Americans save two things. I never served on a jury and more importantly, I could not vote. I never had an electoral say in India either because it did not allow absentee voting.

I hailed from the world's largest democracy and lived in the world's most powerful one, but was unable to take part in a free society's most essential expression. I always felt cheated, or worse, that I was falling short.

In 2004, I covered the presidential elections for an Atlanta newspaper, and after months of excitement and intrigue I was frustrated that I could not cast a ballot on Election Day.

By then I had cleared the biggest legal hurdles in India in settling my father's property. And so it happened that I sat down to fill out the necessary forms declaring my intent to become American.

I was fingerprinted, passed citizenship tests that challenged my knowledge of the Constitution and was finally called to take the oath in July 2008.

At the suburban Atlanta offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, I scanned the room to see faces from Vietnam to Venezuela. There were people from 38 different countries there that day for the naturalization ceremony.

I thought back to all the people I had met in my career as a reporter, of people who fought for freedom in lands that kept them caged, and others who clawed their way to these shores to break free.

I remembered Cuban dissenters I had met on my trip to Havana, and Afghan women who risked their lives to make things better for their little girls.

Today, all we have to do is look to the men and women of the Arab Spring, who took to the streets to oust governments that kept them down. Think of how much people risk to attain the kind of freedom we enjoy in America. And how much people in our own country have struggled to rid our society of prejudice and persecution.

My naturalization ceremony was testament to the American spirit. I looked around me and realized that this wasn't just about the journeys people had made; it was about the potential of all they could achieve in their new nation.

I thought about the Americans I’d met who worked hard, determined to achieve the American dream; about how their expectations were greater than their fears.

Such was the case with Fernando Andrade, who left behind Gen. Augusto Pinochet's military rule in Chile and arrived here without a college degree or English skills. He started in construction jobs and worked his way up to become a successful businessman.

Or Darly Pierre, who fled the brutal dictatorship of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. She came to America ready to fulfill her dreams. In Haiti, she said, she never had that chance.

I thought, too, about all the Americans I met who inspired me to carry on in the face of adversity. They, too, championed the American spirit.

Dylynn Waters lost her New Orleans home to Hurricane Katrina, resettled in Atlanta only to lose her home again in a fire. Waters persevered with a smile on her face. She said she had learned that it was not possessions that made a home.

Richard Ingram was a young cavalry scout whose arm was blown off in a roadside bombing in Iraq. He returned home determined to make the best of life. He is the first severely wounded soldier in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to become an officer.

America is filled with such stories. It is a nation that gives people hope.

On that July day, I felt proud, and extremely lucky, to be a part of this land.

I glanced at Francisco Montiel of Venezuela, standing to my right, dressed for the occasion in a khaki suit and blue tie. And on my left stood my friend Vino Wong, a photographer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and a native of Malaysia.

I wondered what they were thinking as they, too, became U.S. citizens. Did they have the same emotions I did? Was their joy tinged with the melancholy of giving up a homeland?

My eyes welled as I began the oath.

"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. …”

Two worlds collided in my head as I drove to the Fulton County Courthouse with my new certificate of citizenship so that I could register to vote in time for the 2008 presidential elections.

That November, America made history with the election of Barack Obama as its first black president. The election became an important part of my own history as I stepped up to a voting booth and cast a ballot for the very first time.

Since then, I've come to think differently of my new citizenship.

I know now that swearing allegiance to the red, white and blue gave me new nationality. But nothing can ever take away my identity or that of the 40 million other people living in America who were born in other countries.

My Indian roots run deep, and I strive to carry with me every day the very best of two lands.

That is, after all, what makes America great.

Posted by
Filed under: Asian in America • Immigration • Who we are
soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. Marilu

    If you follow the Dave Ramsey plan, you don't rely on crdeit. You don't have a car loan and you pay 20% down on your house so you get a good interest rate. My crdeit score sucks right now, but my insurance cost have not gone up. Get with the program!I am sure that you will not allow any comments considering that you have a poor feedback and no comments have yet to be approved. People like you make me sick with your promises to help poor people. You prey on them and I am sure you are scheming

    September 18, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. jony

    There was a time in this country no one would ask why an immigrant became an US citizen, we all knew why and were proud to call ourselves the greatest country. Now that it's more fashionable to come here and take government handouts without becoming a tax payer, we have to ask why someone would do the right thing. Sad state of affairs

    August 7, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Southerner

    It is ridiculous that some people insist on calling themselves "Native Americans". Who are these natives? As history teaches us, America has always been and will always be a nation of Immigrants. That's the source of her strength, dominance and leadership. The day you "close the gates" as some people are suggesting, it will be the start of the end of America's leadership. Well, am every bit American except on paper, and i know deep down that there is no other country on earth that can offer me half the opportunities promised by America, my African roots notwithstanding. Everyone else in America is an immigrant. Go read history carefully before you come to spew your ignorance here.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
    • IxenHeart

      ...are you serious? Did you forget that there were people LIVING in America before the first "immigrants" from Europe and beyond came here? Or did you decide to do selective reading in that "history" you studied? I guess you forgot that those Native Americans were abused, taken advantage of, and pretty much kicked/chased right off the land they'd been living on for generations. And the current generations still suffer from THAT history.

      Pure ignorance. And I say this as a child of immigrants myself.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
      • Cathie

        The first immigrants walked across the Bering Strait when it was iced over. All human are from the African region. So Native Americans are really Russian. Chinese, Russian, Irish, and American all start in Africa. So who is native?

        July 12, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • hacimo

      a "native american" is what we sometimes call an "american Indian". You know, like Lizzy Warren claims to be. Now a "Natural born american" is anyone who has citizenship by birth.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cherry

    Congratulations to all who went through the long and expensive process to become a citizen rather than choose the low life way of stealing into the country while demanding everything be handed over for doing so. To hear that it actually meant something to raise your hand and take the oath is amazing. Citizenship should be EARNED and NOT given away. To grant amnesty for something you do not deserve is an insult to all who came here through the right channels and are proud to be American. Government is going to hand over amnesty to millions who have NO desire to assimilate in any way, shape or form.

    Also, I was glad to see someone here point out that the majority of illegals are not only Mexican but ASIAN! They come in on work Visa's legally and before it expires.... disappear into the crowd and stay off the radar.

    July 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    It pains me to say this but,"It's time to close the gates".Everytime we let in a new commer into this country it lets the country and government they came from "Off the HooK" for improving the conditions in the country they left.New York City is a perfect example of how multiple cultures segregate themselves within the city.I heard on television the other day that a Muslim member of Congress made a speech to a Muslim Association that the schools in the United States should be modeled after Muslim Medrassas (Muslim Schools -excuse the spelling) in this country.Need I say more,I know,I know,if the Liberal Progressive Politicians had their way the borders would be wide open so the country could be destroyed from within.They even want the National Anthem changed.Just look at the disaster along the mexican border(Watch Border Wars on the National Geographic Channel) It all needs to stop now before chaos becomes a standard and the country dissolves.

    July 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Schmoogalicious

      The minute the US stops allowing immigration, the country will fade. Immigrants are what drive, and have always driven, US society and make it flourish, now more than ever. Without immigration, the US will lose what distinguishes it from other countries and will rapidly lose its relevance.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • davy

        no, those days were over a loooong time ago.

        July 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Frank you are wrong on so many levels.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
      • davy

        Frank is correct, they need to improve the countries they left. America only has so employment and land.

        July 9, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. AZ

    One thing I like is that there are too many nationalities here. so you share and learn from each other.. All of us should show more unity and respect each other.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. PangasinanFred

    I was granted a green card by my profession, naturaralized citizen and lived in US land for almost three decades. No worries staying in this land if legally landed. I suggest all illegals should face the reallity to behave.

    July 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dudley

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! Look at that. People who have gone through the process legally, properly and successfully, and are now one of US. Just waaaaaaaaay too cool by half.

    I'm willing to bet that the ones who are the MOST upset about illegal immigrants are these people, and rightfully so! Stay, Keepers! Flee, Creepers...

    July 6, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Prashant

    I like and respect your feelings mentioned here, It is the similar saga for many Indians in US
    Wish you the best
    -Prashant

    July 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yusuf

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      September 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jayjay Jacob

    I was an American in my heart even before naturalization. I became an US Citizen the day I raised my right hand and took the oath of Enlistment to the United States Army on March 18, 1996. I am proud of my service.

    July 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      Thank you for your service and congrats on your citizenship. I was in the military and was honored to conduct several ceremonies giving soldiers their citizenship.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dick Hertz

    Most "immigrants" are here illegaly and plan to retire in Mexico.

    July 5, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      thats good less medicare expense...less on my goverment

      July 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TexDoc

    The article never really addressed WHY she became an American, mostly about how there were lots of people from many cultures and with deep feelings. Feelings, not reasons.

    July 5, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. humtake

    Seems like kind of a waste. Just wait a few more years and Democrats will have made it legal for anyone in the world to vote for our President. They have already made it much easier as it is.

    July 5, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • William

      So you are of Native American heritage? Most people in the US were immigrants, so what if their newer than you. Immigrants can be amongst the most loyal as they are leaving a place for a better life.

      July 5, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
      • czar33

        Not all immigrants are treated equal in the USA, other than Doctors or people with a higher education, people from INDIA receive a $100,000 and a $400,000 loan at 2% Thats why they own 99% of the gas-stations up and down I-95
        They call this the "PATEL GRANT & LOAN"

        July 5, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonquil

      How many times have you heard Americans talk about their ethnic, ancestorall heritages, without it being any kind of proof of conflict with their loyalties? Many Americans talk about stories about family members immigrating here from somewhere else and as long as these countries are "white" countries, it's fine. Americans can say "Oh, yes, I have Norwegian, German, Italian, Irish, Swedish, Polish, English, French-Canadian in me" and that's fine. But if someone talks about their family's Asian, South American or Indian ethnic heritage, that's somehow a problem?

      This is why many people are worried that a stronger brand of racism is growing in this country; it's not that some Americans have a problem with immigrants, they just have a problem with non-Euro/Anglo Saxon immigrants coming into this country. We wouldn't be having this conversation if it were a flux of English, Canadians or Australians immigrating here. And you know it.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley

      They will have made it easy for anyone in the world to BE the President.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nighthhaaawk

    Excellent account of the RIGHT way to citizenship, and the appreciation of a system that makes it possitble. Now can we please make the thousands who want an "easy way in" to citzenship know that it's the effort on YOUR part that leads to a reward. If you want something in the U.S.A., do what the hundreds of thousands before you have done, WORK FOR IT.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • wwrrd

      Yes, this profile is the right way to do it. It is a shame Democrats want to leave this behind and just let anyone declare at anytime I'm a citizen and vote, get a job, driver's license or whatever.

      July 5, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
      • dudley

        It's the only way the Demo-gogues can increase their voter roles; by inviting new people into the pool. Everyone else already knows them and plans on swimming elsewhere.

        July 6, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nathanael George

    lucky Guys .

    July 5, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  16. Bill

    My Grandfather paid SS for 30 years, my father paid for 45 years and I have paid for thirty five, make them citizens after they and their fathers have paid SS for at least 20 years...

    July 5, 2012 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
    • KWS

      Are you suggesting that if you come here illegally, and work here illegally, for a really long time, it should not only be OK, but you should be rewarded? That is ridiculous. What if you successfully embezzle from your company for over 20 years?

      July 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  17. timetravelercnn

    Over populated? Really? If you are capable of this take the total US Population and divide it by the square feet in Texas and then get back to us. You'll find we are not over populated, either here in the US or in the world.

    July 5, 2012 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Salma

      It is a scary world out there, and I agree that it is impossible to prveent child abuse. Those who abuse their children are already invisible to the community to some extent, regardless of how old their kids are, or whether or not they go to school. Even families with a history of abuse who are known to authorities often continue to get away with it, because there is not always enough evidence to get the case to court. Unfortunately, that's what it's all about. I honestly doubt if anyone has thought to themselves "I know how to get away with it, I'll home school!" Most rational people would probably come to the same conclusion. Hopefully.

      October 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Danny C

    I'm a Naturalized Asian- American citizen. I may not be a natural-born citizen, but I gave 14 years of my life to serve in the military because I love this country who gave me the opportunity to better myself and have the freedom to become what I want to be. God bless America!

    July 5, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Jayjay Jacob

      Same thing here

      July 5, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  19. blindoracle

    Would be interesting to hear Moni's thoughts on folks that are giving up US citizenship. Rates of people (e.g. Eduardo Saverin) dropping US citizenship are on the rise (though absolute numbers are still small). We're also seeing life abroad made harder for US citizens, for example, nowadays banks abroad have started to not serve US citizens as IRS reporting requirements are getting too onerous/costly. Seems like before the focus was building walls to keep people out, now there are signs that these walls are being built to keep people in. Hope you made the right decision Moni.

    July 5, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Dondi

      First of all, the percentages compared to those leaving and those entering are not even comparable. Secondly, your "Obama's fault" is shining through. Too many people try to skirt tax rules by playing the leave the country flim flam.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  20. john

    Joe who is your parents?your parents are Indianian ? you have to learn your family tree first when you say this. thank

    July 5, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  21. government cheese

    Sorry guys, I know you have been working hard getting citizenship but Obama wants to put illegals in front of you.

    July 5, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Gwats1957

      That's a lie, boy, and you know it.

      July 5, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  22. BobMD

    Immigration from poor countries to rich countries means the poor countries just get poorer (losing their skilled workers, entrepreneurs and professionals) and the rich countries get richer. How is that good for anyone?

    July 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth3022

      U make no sense. Mexico is not a poor country. They Are just ran by the drug cartels and need help stoping them. Also the second richest person in the world lives there. If those ppl didn't have to wake up and fear the violence from the drug lords they probably would function better as a country. Check our debt we on the other hand are poor.

      July 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • nearearth

        Truth why not just respond to bobmds' comment directly. If the best and brightest people in these poor countries leave for wealthy nations, how does that benefit the poor nation left behind?

        July 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MannyHM

      Most American Nobel Prize winners are foreign born. The U.S. is quite rich in opportunity. This opportunity comes in the form of survival, be it economic, social, or economic. The opportunity also comes in the form for professional fulfillment.

      July 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sholihur

        I saw the show last night at the Agganis in Boston. We paid a decent amnuot and had really good seats but the lights were BLINDING! Now that i'm reading all of these comments i am really aggravated that they did not do anything to fix this yet! You can't even watch the stage because the lights are blinding, i had to watch the tv and the stage was so close! The music and pre-recorded videos were WAY TOO LOUD as well, i can agree with that. I was actually really disappointed this year there was a girl dancing (no clue who she was, she was amazing) but still, no one was ever introduced. I liked how they would introduce who was coming on stage, etc. but they rushed it this year people were coming on stage before the others were even off and i didnt like that. Honestly i thought last years show and the year prior were much better .

        October 15, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  23. whatever

    Walmart, Monsanto, Merck would all disagree! Follow the Money. The more people the more profits -100s of billions more. Do you think They care the environmental or longer-term economic collapse from it over thier immediate profits?
    Nope,

    July 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Nick

    Ok, I will say that I admire those foreigners who come here legaly, and who eventually make it to legal citizenship. At least they to some degree aren't raping this country like the illegals are. The thing that bugs me the most about the situation is, those same people will suddenly call themselves Americans the minute they get thaty citizenship. Well I new for you there Hadji, you may be a citizen, but you aren't truly American, not unless you were born here......I don't want to hear that BS that they are just as American as me! NO, they're not, and they will never be because they were not born here.........PERIOD!.

    July 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth3022

      Truth be told let's tell everyone go back where your ancestors came from and guess what we will have left. U guess right native americans and that's it. You people act like everyone wants to move here that's a lie. Really you all are upset more and more hispanics are coming over so u take it out on the other nationalities that come. If this is the land of free, then let em come as long as they respect us

      July 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      The really true Americans are the ones who choose to become Americans. The others just happened to be born there.

      July 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Avi

        Best description I ever heard. But it goes a bit too far to deny respect to native born American patriots.

        I was wondering as I read the article, about all those naturalized american citizens who were bent on harming this country like the guy that tried to pull off a stunt in the time square, versus this nice lady reporter who is so passionate about becoming an American citizen.

        July 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • oodoodanoo

        Awesome!

        July 5, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  25. whatever

    We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquest—will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.
    Muammar Gaddafi (Speech 10 April 2006)

    July 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  26. nearearth

    Coward? My hands sir, they tremble.

    You just keep spreading that love. You're doing an amazing job.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth3022

      Thanks, I will

      July 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  27. xfiler93

    our population continues to grow compared to the other western nations. more immigrants want to live here then anywhere else. while there population continues to shrink, ours increases.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth3022

      Whats your point, were nowhere near China population

      July 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • whatever

      Truth, what's Your point, that the US overpopulation crisis hasn't led to Famine yet, like it did in China?
      X has a good point that needs to be dealt with. How many is too many? -immigrated and born here, before00 'the better life' so many seek, no longer exists, and what should be done about it.

      WHY do so many people flee their homeland, rather than work hard and sacrifice to make it better there (like US Patriots, Civil Rights Martyrs for example did here)? As the world is so small now, does this even benefit Anyone else in the long run, besides the lucky individuals who made it here? I don't think so. A lifeboat can only contain so many before it sinks and is of no use to anyone.
      So, the unsustainable, both environmentally and economically, over breeding of many peoples Must be dealth with, not accommodated.

      July 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Hermes96

    It is also interesting to note how many American Citizens give up many of their rights to work with high classified American data, and classified projects...Ironic..Some people work so hard to gain the rights of a US Citizen...While other American Citizens freely sign away many of those same cherished US citizen's rights just to be able to work on this country most important jobs...

    In memory of dreamer96

    July 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  29. jen

    Irish Potato famine: Great Hunger! Every immigrant has a reason, and a noble one!

    July 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  30. jen

    Either you are a NATIVE American or an IMMIGRANT.
    Illegal immigration started in 1492. Worse, it was violent in 1492.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juliana

      @ Jen – well said! Some of these ignorant comments are depressing...

      July 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  31. truth3022

    Ivan van sertima I meant autocorrect sucks

    July 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  32. SOS

    Wow all the complicated emotional junk. I am a naturalized citizen from India. I felt none of the crap described above. I was at home in America from day one. I am an engineer, I love guns and love the freedom I have. I am not torn between anything. I am American and love every minute of it.

    July 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  33. yong xue

    In recent years, immigrants from Asia has surpassed those from Mexico, becoming the largest group entering the U.S. However, in CNN's photos gallery of "faces of new citizens", we could not find a single Asian face. Very interesting.

    July 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Highlander2

    Moni Basu is also an opportunist in that she waited "almost three decades" before giving up her Indian citizenship and after she inherited her father's property in India! Evidently, she "got" much more than she "gave". How many immigrants really want U.S. citizenship because they want to give or serve the USA? Of the many desiring citizenship, very few are willing or able to serve in our military. Simply passing a citizenship test on paper will never determine proof of loyalty to the USA. This country used to maintain higher immigration standards. If the same "legal" entry requirements still applied that were in place at Ellis Island, at least we would attract more responsible immigrants.

    July 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      What's your solution? Make it mandatory for newly-established immigrant citizens to serve in the military? Or are you just hounding them to become Republicans?

      July 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Highlander2

        There is no perfect solution concerning the immigration/citizenship process. But if immigrants are to be granted citizenship, we must have a more efficient , immigrant accountable system in place. I believe that an immigrant seeking citizenship who would also volunteer for military service is a much better candidate for citizenship than an immigrant who is unwilling to "serve" this country! The granting of citizenship would be an earned reward, rather than unearned gift. I am retired from the military, am a Vietnam veteran and politically, I remain an independent, as I regard both major parties as self serving.

        July 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  35. oyvey

    You know real Americans do not volunteer into the IRS federal system.
    How many real free Americans out there? or your a 13th Amendment slaves?

    July 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Ron

    Is that a gang stalking oath? I swear to stalk and harass my neigbour under the cloak of plausible deniability......I swear to never tell anyone about the psychological warfare i will implement on the people next door i swear not to talk about breaking into their house and (ghosting) micro tampering their private belongings. I swear not to talk about poisoning them, i swear not to talk about illegal surveillance and GASLIGHTING....Amen!

    July 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  37. foxfire

    A liberal is someone that can think for himself/herself. He is knowledgeable and able to make rational decisions.They are not filled with hate. Liberals are what makes this country a great country. God Bless America.

    July 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Liberals scoff at the notion that God blesses America; Just ask Obama's pastor. You might want to get on the same page as your cronies who think that acknowledging the existence of God makes you intellectually inferior to them.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • foxfire

        The last things we need is another GOP Adminstration How soon we forget about the Bush Group and the waste of money and lives.

        July 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Ron

    God Bless America the greatest country in the world!

    PS- please STOP community stalking and organized harassment.

    July 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Born in NYC

    CNN and Time Magazine, once bastions of great journalism, have become nothing more than springboards for the liberal /communist agenda – they are almost as bad as MSNBC and The New York Times..

    July 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  40. BillyBob117

    I am very proud of those who came to this great country and went through our immigration process to become citizens. There has never ever been anything wrong with our immigration process. The problem is allowing illegals in this great country and allowing them to butt in line and not even have to go through the same process as the others. It is a damn shame and I am mad, mad as hell that some approved of this slap in our faces

    July 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  41. larry

    I became a citizen so I could work hard and make a good life and get my kids educated. Opps! I should have gone to China. Democrats Liberals and Progressives are in control.

    July 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Feel free to go to China.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  42. larry

    The USA is a looser now because of Obama and Democrat/progressive/communists.
    The average Democracy last 200 years. We have beat the odds, but it's all down hill from here thanks to Democrats

    July 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Priviledged Ones

      The USA was never an all white nation like those in Europe. Get over it.
      A lot of those white faces you saw on media for most of your life were never all white, the real Euros could tell you that by looking at them and they called you mutts. Many carried native american and african genes from way back.
      The racist myth that the USA became a superpower because of pure white power is based on a myth about a racial purity in the USA that never existed since the beginning, By the third generation a massive amount of the early colonists were carrying native genes before the USA even existed.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • oyvey

        digress much?

        July 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Bribarian

    deport

    July 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Rachel

    I bet if you were to ask these citizens whether or not this country is exceptional they would disagree with that liberal loon Bill Maher.

    July 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Ron

    Its nice youve become a citizen good luck finding work. You will not find it on this channel (CNN) but Fox reports as many as a 100,000 exsoldiers are going to work on Canada's Keystone pipeline. Not on the american side but the Canadian side. How come CNN doesnt report this? Why do we only get fed Pablum or Obama cakes on CNN?

    July 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • foxfire

      A well written story. Good luck and nice to have you as an American Citizen.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  46. katolungile

    These people must not have heard. No reason to do it this way anymore... Just run in and you're here for good.

    July 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • minority

      like your grandpa did.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  47. sfg

    Another CNN reporter interviewing herself, LOFL.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  48. woodie

    I applaud all legal immigrants. I wish them the best of luck. All the illegals need to leave on the next train, boat, or plane. Obama will not save you. He has to answer to the law just like you.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  49. oyvey

    I became citizen so I can PAY TAXEs on OBAMACARe

    July 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      I became a citizen because it is a free country. Free medical, Free education, Free money and food stamps, Free airfare to bring in the rest of my family so they can get free money also. I also now have a clean criminal record, this place is the best. Go Obama! I am here thanks to you. What a great country.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Priviledged Ones

        Umm, you are in Canada. Take the train to one nation south of you to reach USA.

        July 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Akmid

      I became a citizen to infiltrate your country and take over from within. Bwahahahahahaha!!!!

      July 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  50. oyvey

    I became a US citizen so I could be harassed by the government, So DHS can label me a terrorist for loving freedom. Oh yeah so I can PAY TAXES and get nothing in return...

    July 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • minority

      america has million good things and citizenship certainly has some value.but american people are simply obnoxius.arrogant reptiles.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Priviledged Ones

        They change a lot from one state to the next and in the larger states change even from one section to another.
        Find an area you like better. They exist.

        July 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Salam

      U pay taxes so when u travel abroad they will think twice before they herass u, u pay taxes so u don't drive on muddy streets, u pay taxes so u can say what u r sayin now with having a government coming after u for say what u r saying, u pay taxes so u will be treated like a human being, u pay taxes so ur children can go to school, u pay taxes so u don't stay in line for gas, and u pay taxes to earn the right to proudly call urself an American.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sebastian

      This is so cool! I love it! Can't wait for you to capture our girls Is it okay if we have phtoos taken at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center? Rowan just had her last day of preschool there, and it is where we hang out most of the time besides home! Let me know what you have in mind, and how much time you have available for us on July 6th (morning I hope?) I will try to be as organized as possible! Wade is taking off work that day or part of that day so he can see you too!!! Can't wait. You are magnificent.xo Jessica

      October 13, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  51. tafugate

    doesn't make any sense to me why anyone would abandon their country and run to somewhere else. personally, there's a lot wrong with the united states, most of which is big money controls the government, and i have no say whatsoever. not catastrophic, but very annoying. but whatever happens in the u.s., i will remain here for the fight. it's fine for the weak-minded or the weak-bodied to come here in search of an easier life. but they'll never have my respect for the cowards they are.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Priviledged Ones

      Shooting Native Americans and buffalo has not been a US pastime for a very long time now.
      The hot thing today is to shoot people in inner cities and buy drugs.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  52. imstilanig

    I LUV illegal immigration!

    July 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sven

      These people did it legally, the right way. We need more people like this, and less America-hating liberals who were born here and don't appreciate what a great land this is. These new arrivals are more American then they will ever be.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  53. southernwonder

    cnn is staffed with whole bunch of foreigners. it does not look or sound american tv any more. and yet our politicians want to rush to cnn for interviews. i just don't get it.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      I became a citizen because it is a free country. Free medical, Free education, Free money and food stamps, Free airfare to bring in the rest of my family so they can get free money also. I also now have a clean criminal record, this place is the best. Go Obama! I am here thanks to you. What a great country.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      I am sure your forefathers were foreigners, so why the bias!

      July 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If you think you know whose is and who isn't a U.S. citizen, think again. There are people who have been living in this country for ages and have never applied for citizenship and don't have to because they are protected but guess what, you'll never know.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Priviledged Ones

      This story is from Atlanta. Lets see.....
      There is German embassy in Atlanta and a rather large group of German families who have lived there for generations and only become US citizens the year before they are old enough to collect SS.
      But they are very wealthy (avoiding US taxes), very prominent in Republican causes, and known as devout Christian fundamentalists.

      I am going to guess this is the type of you will never know that you are talking about, that the Repub next to them in a Red State complaining about illegals and waving the US flag is not even a citizen and has been gaming the system to cheat the US taxpayers for generations.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • nearearth

        Excellent point priviledged ones, its the atlanta germans, always stirring up trouble.

        Claudias right. Its a dirty little secret waiting to burst that the number of hispanics in the US who are legal citizens is quite small relative to their suffocating #'s. Stay tuned!

        Deport. Deport. Deport. (1.1million deportations to date- obamas singular accomplishment)

        July 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Flex

    I believe "Why did I become an American citizen" should be a mandatory question for every immigrant coming or planning to come to the US. I was once an immigrant, yet I know of many others that have become Americans with the main objective to have and own materialistic stuff (i.e. cars, house(s), nice clothing, etc.) plus not bother to adapt to the new culture and values, nevertheless mock the US in every way possible. This is the type I deplore. Big difference between that type of an immigrant and the ones that came to truly attain genuine FREEDOM to enjoy it, protect it, and pass it along to their children and grandchildren.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  56. TJ

    Okay... this has got to be one of the worst posting formats I've seen in years. Hey, CNN... anyone awake over there? :-(

    July 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  57. DamianKnight

    And don't forget the judgmental!

    July 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  58. a disgrace

    obama says immigrants are fine as long as they are not latino's!he is going to force them all out of america ....right after they vote for him!!!!

    July 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Are you on crack?

      July 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  59. A.K.

    I became a U.S.Citizen on May 14, 2010 after 23 years of being in the U.S. When I was 4 my family and I immigrated from South America. I was happy that I finally got the right to vote and that I was from that point on officially an American. To be honest, as proud as I am of my heritage, I always considered myself American more than anything because the U.S. has been my home.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
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