CATHEDRAL CITY — One week before Super Tuesday, a 66-year-old Cathedral City woman was one of an estimated 10,000 people who celebrated becoming a U.S. citizen by taking the oath of allegiance. The newest citizens were inducted in two ceremonies Feb. 25 in the south hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“It was just incredible,” Audrey Ruttan told Uken Report. “We were sworn in by a judge, so it’s official. It’s real.”

Originally from Canada, Ruttan aka Charlie Chaplain, has been living and working in the Coachella Valley with a Green Card.

But it was not enough. She wanted to be a real American and spent nearly a year working toward becoming a U.S. Citizen.

She wanted to vote and participate in the democratic process and legitimately receive any benefits to which she might be entitled, such as Social Security.

“It’s the proper way to be an American,” Ruttan told Uken Report. “I can voice my opinion and really kick butt because I am an American.”

The crowd represented 140 countries and for the first time united as U.S. Citizens.

“It was really something to see,” Ruttan said.

The U.S. citizenship immigration services staff was on location handing out voting registration cards to encourage everyone to exercise their new rights as Americans.

California Vote-by-mail residents are already sending in their ballots and others are hitting the polls at early voting locations to cast their ballots before the Democratic primary on March 3.

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. During the last decade, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 7.2 million naturalized citizens into the fabric of our nation. In fiscal year 2018, over 756,000 people were naturalized, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Last year, 834,000 people qualified to become US citizens nationwide — an 11-year high.

After pursuing citizenship for nearly a year, Ruttan’s effort was jeopardized when she discovered her vehicle would likely not make the 230-mile roundtrip to Los Angeles.

Over a neighborly glass of tea with her neighbor, Yasmin Espinoza, Ruttan realized her dream would become reality.  Espinoza offered to chauffeur her to the ceremony.

“I was more in awe that she allowed me to share in her day,” Espinoza told Uken Report. “There were so many Rockwell moments. I was in tears most of the day.”

The Oath of Allegiance to the United States is a sworn declaration that every citizenship applicant must recite during a formal ceremony in order to become a naturalized American citizen. The Oath ceremony is a tradition dating back to the 18th century.

When taking the Oath, the new citizen promises to fulfill the following duties:

  • Support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States against its enemies.
  • Give up allegiance to any other nation or sovereign, and renounce hereditary or noble titles, if any.
  • Provide military or civilian service when called upon by the government to do so.
  • Attending the Oath of Allegiance ceremony is mandatory as the final step of the naturalization process. You must satisfy this requirement of U.S. citizenship in order to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen.

You may read the entire oath by clicking here.

The easiest way to apply to become a U.S. Citizen is online by clicking here.

As for Ruttan, well, “I just want to get out there and celebrate.”

 

Image Sources

  • Yasmin Espinoza and Audrey Ruttan: Yasmin Espinoza