Attending a naturalization ceremony is a big event for new citizens. They gain more rights including a critical one—the right to vote. The ceremony is also an excellent opportunity for the political parties to recruit their new members.
The Heritage Theatre in Campbell, California, has been a place for the monthly naturalization ceremonies in Santa Clara County. New citizens take their Oath of Allegiance to the United States and spend the first day of their lives as U.S. citizens at this theater.
The naturalization ceremonies take place on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Because of the holiday season, November ceremonies are usually the most attended each year. Jose Posadas, an election specialist from the county office of Community Relations, told The Epoch Times there were four ceremonies attended by about 1,200 new citizens on Nov. 26.
Days for the naturalization ceremonies are also the days for the local public agencies to reach out for new voter registrations. Posadas said by the end of the day, his office would probably be able to get half of the new citizens registered to vote. Posadas said that new citizens are free to choose the political parties that they want to be associated with, or to register as nonpartisan voters.
Republicans and Democrats both have their booths set up outside of the theater on these naturalization ceremony days.
At the Democrat booth, there was an image of the Statue of Liberty the size of a person, while at the Republican booth there was a life-size cutout of President Trump. Some new citizens coming out of the ceremony stopped by, had their picture taken at these booths, and signed up for the political party of their choice.
Teng Chun is Chinese but is from the Philippines. She signed up to become a Democrat minutes after she walked out of the ceremony. Chun has been in the United States for 16 years.
Chun felt excited and proud to be able to vote. She said she had paid too much tax all these years, and finally she could exercise her right to vote. She believes that voting is a privilege only for citizens.
Santa Clara County is a part of the San Francisco Bay Area, a deep blue region heavily populated with Democrats. “People just came and signed up,” said Judy Gilford, a volunteer working at the Democrat’s booth. She said she didn’t need to convince people to sign up for her party.
Gilford came as a volunteer each month to help her party. Her grandparents were Jews, and came to the United States from the East European countries prior to communists taking control of their country.
Matheeswaran Tharmarathinan is from Sri Lanka and has been in the United States for six years. He and his family stood together next to Trump’s cutout and had their first family picture taken after he became a U.S. citizen.
“I will vote next year, and I have never voted in my life,” said Tharmarathinan. He said he would vote for Trump because Trump “speaks everything straight forward. Speaking straight forward is important for the leader.”
Rosa Cruz joined the October ceremony and is from South America. She has been in the United States for 18 years. Cruz felt very happy she had finally become a citizen and was able to vote. She said she liked both Republican and Democratic parties, and she only agreed with half of the Trump policies. However, she said she would support President Trump because the U.S. economy is good.
Gary Debling and his wife Sarah are from England. They also joined the ceremony in October. Gary works in the hi-tech industry. They are proud of England but decided to become U.S. citizens because they had an “amazing experience” in the incredible tech world in Silicon Valley.
They took their pictures with the presidents in front of the Republican booth but said they had not decided which party they were going to join.
Anna Kramer was a volunteer for the Republican booth who put out Trump’s cutout in front of the Heritage Theatre. She is also a San Mateo County Republican Central Committee member. She has been making similar events in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties since July.
She criticized the mass media for being “always negative” against President Trump. “They won’t say anything good about President Trump. If they would have been a little more balanced about President Trump, I wouldn’t feel so threatened,” Kramer stated, adding “because they are so biased, I feel I need to come out and really stand up for what I believe in.”
Cliff Kramer, Anna’s husband, said that he had been a Democrat for 25 years before “the party left me” and went to the extreme left. He said that Democrats used to believe free speech, and not as radical as now. He finally became a Republican after “Antifa became a dominant force shutting people up,” he said.
“Our country will be in a very deep trouble without immigrants,” Cliff Kramer asserted.
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Author: Nathan Su