Taking the Oath of Allegiance is the final path to become a naturalized citizen. For many, it is a long road and a pricy one, nearly $1,000 from start to end. For some it can take years. “People think it is an easy process, but it’s not,” said Soutsada Sourinphoumy, a native of Laos. Sourinphoumy has been in the States for 16 years.
She drove from Tappahannock for her final path to citizenship. Her application was accepted in March and she attended her first interview July 6. “They initially told me they did not know when I would have my interview due to a backlog in applications. I decided not to renew my green card, so I was lucky. Some people are not so lucky to pass. I have a friend who has failed twice already. It is hard. The hardest parts are the laws.”
Sourinphoumy joined 59 other candidates for their naturalization ceremony on the bluff at Henricus last Thursday. Each was introduced along with his or her country of origin; among these countries were Russia, Canada, Australia, Philippines, Mexico, Egypt, Venezuela, Vietnam, India, Honduras, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Cambodia, Germany. They named their native countries but were ready to give their allegiance to America, to be able to vote, to participate in their community and local government, and to be patriots.
Charles Grant, executive director of Henricus, welcomed the attendees. U.S. Magistrate Judge, Roderick C. Young, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McIntosh, presented the candidates for citizenship, and Lori Jackson administrated the Oath of Allegiance.
Story and photos by Linda Fausz,