Former Immigrants Voting

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 1, 2004
Ambiance: I’m going to go over the form with you briefly. Number one – you have to put a name that’s going to be on your citizenship document….. Once every month, the U-S Citizenship and Immigration Service holds a naturalization ceremony at The Crest Theater in Downtown Sacramento. Department spokeswoman Sharon Rummery says it’s an emotional day and holding it inside the classic theater with it’s gold leaf art deco interior makes the day even more memorable. Oh isn’t it beautiful? You smell the popcorn, you see the candies like the days when we were kids going to the theater and then you see this great group of people taking this marvelous step in their lives and becoming Americans. On this day, close to 900 people from 88 different countries are becoming new citizens. Judge: It’s time to take the oath of allegiance then you will become citizens so if you would all stand. This is the culmination of a five-year wait for most of these new citizens. In addition to being required to live in the U-S for that amount of time, they have to have adequate English language skills and know a little bit about U-S civics. They also have to declare commitment to the U-S Constitution. So help you God….I do….congratulations, you may have a seat again. At the time this ceremony was held, the deadline to register to vote had already passed. But Rummery had good news for the newly naturalized audience. I know that all of you heard on the news on Monday that Monday was the last day to register to vote. That was true of people who did not just naturalize but for the newly naturalized, you are allowed to register to vote right up until next Monday. Thank you very much. The announcement is a pleasant surprise to sew-SEE-shaw Goodwin of Thailand who wasn’t expecting to vote. I thought I can not but the lady told us that today we can register to vote on the day so I’m excited and I will. Have you been following the campaign? I do, yes I do. I’ve been watching the debate between President Bush and John Kerry. I already decided who I can vote for. Maria Genadia from Nigeria is also glad to know she can still register. I have been here for over five years so having been paying my taxes and having lived here for so long I’ve pretty much made my decision already so I’m happy that they’ve given us an extended time to register to vote. California law lets new citizens register for an additional week after the cutoff for existing citizens. Outside The Crest, family and friends wait to congratulate the new Americans. Soon-GALL-oh COOL-eh-VALLI of the Ivory Coast is waiting for his wife. Yeah, she’s planning to vote. I don’t know who she’s going to vote for, I mean I know but I think it’s a secret for now. We are very excited. I can’t vote because I don’t have a citizenship yet. I’m applying. But if I could vote, I cannot tell you right now. It’s still a secret. Some analysts say with President Bush and Senator Kerry virtually tied in the polls, the newest US citizens could well determine the next leader of the nation. Steve Milne - KXJZ news.