While congratulating newly minted American citizens, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) also reminded those who attended his virtual Citizenship Recognition Ceremony about their duty to participate in democracy.
“By becoming a U.S. citizen, you too will have a voice in how our nation is governed. As a citizen you can serve on a jury, bring family members to the U.S., obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age, apply for federal jobs, and become eligible for federal grants and scholarships. But most importantly, you can vote,” he said.
SCREENSHOT OF ZOOM CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY
ONLINE CELEBRATIONS U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) hosted his fourth annual Citizenship Recognition Ceremony via Zoom with more than 30 individuals in attendance.
On the morning of Nov. 21, Carbajal virtually presented special congressional recognitions to 102 constituents, highlighting their attainment of becoming a naturalized United States citizen.
Santa Maria 3rd District City Councilmember Gloria Soto and her mother Soledad Soto attended. Soledad recently became a U.S. citizen.
Gloria said that her mother took the Oath of Allegiance to the country on the same day she passed her citizenship test in August.
“I had driven her down to LA early that morning, and due to COVID-19, my mom was alone during her short naturalization ceremony,” Gloria said. “Celebrating with other newly naturalized citizens and with Congressman Salud Carbajal was a very special experience even though it was virtual.”
She said the event allowed her family to celebrate Soledad’s momentous achievement together, as well as the achievement of the other individuals on the call.
“It’s important to acknowledge that we currently don’t have a clear path to citizenship in his country for all immigrants. Many undocumented immigrants will never have an opportunity to get their green card, let alone become naturalized citizens due to our existing immigration policies. And so, for those who have the chance to apply for citizenship, do it,” Gloria said.
The process may be daunting, she said, but organizations like IMPORTA in Santa Barbara County can assist immigrants with any and all questions—a service Gloria’s mom received.
Carbajal acknowledged that the process of becoming naturalized wasn’t easy as many had to study for the civics exam, learned the English questions, and were nervous to go through the interview process.
“Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. We are a nation bound not by race or religion, but by the shared values of freedom and equality,” Carbajal said during the ceremony.
He encouraged attendees to register to vote to make their voice heard in their community and elect individuals who will represent their needs.
The ceremony was open to all new citizens on the Central Coast who took their oath between July 2019 and November 2020. ∆