ELEVEN new U.S. citizens were sworn in during a naturalization ceremony at the District Court for the NMI in Gualo Rai on Tuesday morning.
Patricia Phelan, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer, made the motion in court to accept the applicants as new citizens.
Presiding over the special session, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted the motion and welcomed the new citizens to the American family.
Sworn in were: Leticia Garcia Abigania, Lucia Dela Cruz Andrey, Tingting Chu Doggett, Jonnalyn Betonio Mendiola, Vilma Comia Pangelinan, Lani Lopez Sablan, Marcelo Menrige Sumalnap, Rocelia Reyes Tenorio, Jovie Sagum Villacrusis, Beatriz Caisip Villacrusis, and Reymundo Tambauan Zinampan.
In his remarks, the guest speaker, Northern Marianas Humanities Council executive director Leo Pangelinan, said the “call to protect the Constitution reminds us that the grand ideas that have sustained this country for nearly 250 years are vulnerable…. Our system of government can be weakened by human conditions, our emotions for example, or the trappings of power.”
He added, “The call to protect the Constitution reminds us, as we strive to maximize our full potential in this life, we must appreciate that we have the freedom to do so because of our privileges and rights that come from our Constitution.”
He said, the Constitution is “clear about the separation of powers between our three branches of government and the source of this power comes from ‘we the people.’”
Pangelinan said the new citizens’ oath of allegiance “calls for your service to these ideals, even if you don’t have an official role in our government; and we do this by exercising our right to vote for our leaders or laws; and to petition our government as needed to address our needs and grievances.”
Today, he added, “we celebrate your success in acquiring the knowledge and values that in part define American culture. As you make this transition in your life, I want you to know that I and many others in our community appreciate your rich cultural heritage and would ask that you continue to share this very important part of who you are. Becoming a U.S. citizen does not mean that you leave your culture or language behind. As you forge ahead with your dreams and life goals, my hope for you is that you are able to take with you and share with others every bit of that which makes you unique.”