After a day full of naturalization ceremonies, more than 200 people became U.S. citizens on Tuesday.
With the words “I do,” 162 of those now American citizens filled the City-County Building for the day’s third ceremony. Alongside a row of city officials, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero opened the ceremony by announcing the United States is a country of immigrants, even highlighting how her own parents journeyed to the U.S. years ago, to live the American dream. It was an experience many, if not all, in that courtroom on Tuesday shared.
Patience Logan is one of them. Logan made her journey to the U.S. in the mid 1980s from Liberia and just recently decided it was time to become an American citizen.
“When you go to fill out an application or something, they ask you, ‘Are you an American citizen? Or a green card holder? What’s your alien number?’ And so now I don’t have an alien number,” said Logan.
Logan feels by shedding her alien number, new opportunities will arise.
“Certain doors I feel are going to be open now that I am a citizen,” said Logan.
Logan obtained permanent residency years ago after her daughter, who was already a U.S. citizen, filed for her.
For those still searching for their path to citizenship, those without a sponsor or a family member already here with citizenship, Logan says she knows their pain.
“I feel for them because I was once in their shoes,” said Logan. “Because without your citizenship, some doors might not be open and the way politics are going it’s scary. You don’t know what they’re going to say next, you don’t know what’s going to happen that will be just for American citizens.”