Written by Audrey Hughey (Executive Assistant and Administrative Liaison to the Board) and Rob East (Former Non-Profit Organizational Management Intern)
“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 the 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.”
– Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America
Roughly 6,000 individuals from varying places across the world are naturalized into becoming fellow Hoosiers every year. The naturalization process is quite a rigorous process consisting of many different steps and requirements such as possessing a permanent residency (green) card for at least 5 years (3 if filing as a spouse of a U.S. Citizen), being able to read, write, and speak English, and completing a U.S. Naturalization Test. Below are a few of the questions that these individuals must answer as a part of the test:
- How many amendments does the Constitution have?
- Name two Cabinet-level positions
- Name one power of the states
- Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
- Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
Some of the answers to these questions are intuitive to us. But to those who have had very little contact with U.S. history and civics, these questions can be particularly challenging. Those who ultimately meet the requirement are granted U.S. citizenship in a naturalization ceremony.
The naturalization ceremony is a celebration of the achievement of individuals from across the world who have met the requirements of being a U.S. Citizen and are granted all the freedoms and liberties along with it. This event is also attended by U.S. Congress members, state and local representatives, and other federal and state resources and agencies to give their congratulations and to welcome them as fellow citizens. A court judge presides over the proceedings and administers the Oath of Allegiance. Remarks and congratulations are given by the respective attending individuals and organizations and ceremonious gifts are provided by each of them. This naturalization ceremony was administered by Southern District of Indiana court Judge Mary Giorgio and International Center board member Sarah Iglehart participated in this event to represent The International Center and present its gift.
The International Center has had the privilege of participating in these events as the organization that presents the eldest citizen naturalized with an American flag that has been flown over the United States Capitol. This has been an honor to present since its inception which began September 23, 1992. The flag given to the eldest citizen for this event is in memory and recognition of Toni Cordingly, a naturalized immigrant from Italy who became the first female municipal court judge in Marion County and former International Center board member. She is honored as part of a list of incredible individuals who have helped the Hoosier state become the global hub it is today.
The International Center congratulates the individuals who have taken the time, energy, and effort to become United States Citizens and we welcome them with open arms as our fellow Hoosiers.