New U.S. Citizens Take Oath on Campus

November 09, 2010 / by / 0 Comment

GCU’s North Gym won’t soon be forgotten by 127 Arizonans who became naturalized U.S. citizens there in an hourlong ceremony Tuesday. Nearly three dozen countries of origin were represented.

GCU’s president, Dr. Kathy Player, welcomed the new citizens and their families. The University’s New Life Choir sang the national anthem and led the crowd in Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” The colors were presented by members of the University’s ROTC.

Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor was among the spectators, and Charles B. Harrell of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administered the Oath of Allegiance.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Harrell told the new citizens. “It requires active participation by all.”

Among those receiving a certificate of citizenship was 91-year-old Ramon Benavides, a native of Mexico who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.

It was a big day, also, for Korean-born Nam Hee Feinberg, 55, of Chandler, who attended with her husband, Andy, and two of their four grown children.

“I love this country, so it’s good to finally be a citizen of it,” said Feinberg, whose motivation was her desire to have voting rights.

For each applicant, the citizenship process included paperwork and an interview at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security offices in central Phoenix. In the interview, each was asked 10 questions from a 100-question booklet covering aspects of American history and the Constitution. A passing score was six correct answers.

On Tuesday, each of the 127 new citizens also received a Social Security application, a voter-registration form and passport information.

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