MP&F was proud to help with a naturalization ceremony at The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson last week. A total of 76 new U.S. citizens from 36 countries took the oath. Read more in this article that ran in The Tennessean’s Sept. 27 issue.
In November, Alicja Lanfear will fulfill a dream that is 12 years in the making when she steps up to the ballot box and casts her vote in the midterm election.
Lanfear, 31, moved to the United States from Australia in 2002 to go to college. While she was there, she met her husband and discovered her passion for forensic anthropology.
Over the years she continued to put down roots in Tennessee. But something was missing.
“I’ve lived here so long that I want to have a say and an influence in what goes on,” she said. “I want to have my voice heard.”
Buoyed by that desire, she worked for years to become a citizen. During a brief ceremony on Friday, Lanfear and 75 others from across the globe accomplished that goal on the front lawn of The Hermitage, under the shade of cedar trees that were planted when President Andrew Jackson lived there.
Children’s playful chatter hummed along while U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell read the oath of allegiance that officially welcomed the group as United States citizens.
The milestone brought Lanfear excitement — and relief.
She said she hopes her long path to citizenship has enlightened her young students at Middle Tennessee State University, where she teaches anatomy and physiology.
“It really opens their eyes to the world outside Tennessee,” she said.
Sherry Wang, 21, was buzzing with effervescence after the ceremony. She came to the U.S. from China in 1999 and grew up moving across the country with her family.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to live anywhere else at this point,” she said with a broad smile. “I can do stuff — it’s just possibilities.”
Campbell’s role Friday has become a familiar one over the years. During his time as a federal judge, he’s led more than 100 naturalization ceremonies, although most of them take place in courtrooms.
“It never gets old,” he said. “It’s the only time everyone comes to court and leaves happy.”
Reach Adam Tamburin at 615-726-5986 and on Twitter @tamburintweets.
76 people became naturalized United States citizens.
Those people came from 36 countries. Some people came from places as close as Canada and Mexico, while others hailed from as far away as Ethiopia, Ukraine and Australia.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Naturalization in 2013
Nashville area: 2,612 people were naturalized
California, New York and Florida naturalized the most new citizens
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Q & A
To become a naturalized citizen, you must pass a civics and history exam. Here are some of the questions candidates must prepare to answer.
The House of Representatives has how many voting members? 435
When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms? April 15
When was the Constitution written? 1787