14 take oath as new US citizens


U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy, Immigration Services officer Teresa Vega-Murrieta, and HES Micronesia manager Yogesh Singh pose for a group photo with 14 new U.S. citizens after the naturalization ceremony yesterday. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Laura Jalandoni Tan, 42, was a mixture of nervous and happy when she took her oath yesterday as a U.S. citizen before U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy.

Tan, who is originally from Negros, Philippines, arrived on Saipan in February 1998. She obtained her citizenship through her marriage to GPPC Inc. owner Hang Chieng Tan, who is a U.S. citizen. They have one child. She is thinking of putting her new citizenship to use this November election.

In Taek Hwang, 65, who hails from South Korea, first came to the island in 1989, and put up a tour agency. He is now the owner of Saipan Sunset Cruise Inc. and other businesses, obtaining his citizenship by having a business in Guam.

Tan and Hwang were among the 14 from the Philippines, South Korea, China, and Russia who took their oaths as new U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony.

Immigration Services officer Teresa Vega-Murrieta presented the 14 new citizens.

Yogesh “Yogi” Singh, a former CW worker who is now the manager of Hawaii Engineering Services Micronesia, served as the guest speaker at the ceremony.

Singh, a native of Fiji, came to Saipan in 2003 and married a U.S. citizen in 2010.

Singh recalled that when he was still a CW worker, he was always worried about his work and immigration status. He said he used to hold a passport that contained 60 pages, yet he could not go anywhere.

Singh said that obtaining one’s citizenship means an opportunity to do anything to make one’s own life better and other lives better.

“You can do things not just for yourself and your family but as a community member to improve things and improve your life, family and community,” he said. “As a U.S. citizen you have the tools to be the best. And utilize it. Make it the best you can and help out.”

Aside from Tan and Hwang, the other new citizens are Rosalie Antenero Aldan, Joel Panuelos Bernados, Carolina Ramos Del Rosario, Bernardo Careon Dizon, Marialen Jagorin Fitial, Editha Cecilia Caluza Hipol, Yan Min Li, Lorna Binondo Liban, Marshall Jose Lumaban Liban, Domingo Dollente Pascua, Emarigold Ivy Lasam Pinkerton, and Lioudmila Menkhakovna Ten.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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