OAKLAND (KCBS) – More than 1,000 people from 89 different countries became United States citizens at a mass ceremony at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on Wednesday.
KCBS political reporter Doug Sovern, who had the honor of welcoming them as the guest speaker, said many accelerated the process because of political uncertainty in their new country.
Applications for U.S. citizenship have doubled since President Donald Trump took office. Immigration authorities said many people are rushing to become Americans before the rules change.
Alice Chan has been living here for years, but decided she should better take the final step and become a citizen, anxious about Trump’s immigration policies:
“As a rule, your Green Card is like a passport and is renewable forever. But you see rules changing every minute right now. So I didn’t want to run the risk of suddenly having my Green Card expire or not be renewable,” Chan told KCBS.
They took the oath of citizenship en masse, families tearing up with pride.
One new citizen, a man from Iran, wants to be more politically active but was afraid to until he became a citizen, especially since he held a passport from a country on the president’s travel ban list.
“We as immigrants bring an interesting perspective because we don’t take things for granted. Because we know a lot of the rights that we have in this country is not the types of things you see in other countries,” he said. “So, it’s important for us as immigrants for us to educate the rest of the country to not take things for granted. It’s easy to lose them.”