Last week I was sworn in as US Citizen. Below is the oath of allegiance all naturalized citizens have to recite (while raising their right arm):
"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 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..."
Saying the above stirred within me so much emotion. At first I couldn't help but laugh during some of the passages I read aloud, mostly because the language of the document would make most non-fluent English speakers trip over every other word. I then began to feel remorse, as if the Constitution of the United States was trying to strip me of my ethnic and cultural background - the things that have defined me most of my life. I felt as if I was being told that it is time to stop resisting the "melting pot" and just assimilate already.
But see, it's never going to be like that for me. I will always love my country of birth. The words of its coat of arms will always be engraved deep in my skin, living and breathing inside of me. I am reminded of my roots every time I hear any reference to Latin America. I am reminded of my roots every time I have a conversation with my mother and father. I am reminded of my roots every time I look into a mirror.
However, I have lived in America most of my life and feel humbled and thankful that I have been fortunate enough to have been. I am thankful for all the Constitutional amendments that have allowed me to be a fully participating citizen of the United States of America (particularly, Amendment #13, #14, #15, #19, and #26) and all the Supreme Court decisions that have allowed me to obtain my education (and jobs, proper medical attention, etc) here without any unjust limitations.
I am proud to be an American. I am proud of my past. I am proud of it all. And I finally feel at rest that I don't have to fear deportation anymore! Thank God!
~Jade, The Intern