Fei Chun Hsiao, 47, a native of Taiwan, held her tears when she was taking oath before U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy as among the 17 newest U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony yesterday morning.
“I almost cried. It’s still very different. I really enjoy our freedom here. I think that the most important,” said Hsiao in an interview with Saipan Tribune after the ceremony.
Hsiao and Corey Shadow, a retired American teacher, got married years ago in Taiwan. They later had another wedding in the U.S. mainland.
From South Carolina, Hsiao and Shadow moved in July 2013 to Saipan, where she applied for a job at the Marianas Visitors Authority. She was subsequently hired as a marketing specialist for greater China market, a position that she is still holding now.
Imelda S. Suguitan, 66, a native of Pampanga, Philippines, arrived on the island in October 2012 to work as a supervisor of her son’s Kylie’s Bakeshop and Restaurant.
Suguitan got her citizenship after her daughter petitioned her.
She said she is happy with the citizenship because she could now spend more time together with her children.
Min Jung Song, 25, a native of South Korea, felt very honored and happy because she has been waiting for her citizenship a long time.
“It was a long journey,” said Song as she recalled that she first came to Saipan from South Korea in 2001 or 17 years ago.
Song studied on the island. In September 2016 she passed the NCLEX. She is now working as a nurse at the Commonwealth Health Center.
Song got her citizenship because she joined the U.S. Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program in March 2016.
MAVNI is a program by the U.S. Department of Defense, through which legal non-immigrants with certain critical skills are recruited into the military services.
“I didn’t go to basic training yet. But I got naturalized first today, and then I will be shipping out to basic training,” she said.
Song’s father is a tour guide and her mother is a housewife. She has one brother and one sister.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy administered oath for the 17 newest U.S. citizens.
The Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts (CARE CNMI) executive director Maxine Laszlo, who served as the guest speaker at the ceremony, said it is really remarkable that people so much persevered to go through the naturalization process.
“I think a lot of us take our American citizenship for granted,” Laszlo said. “In general we are working to make this community better.”
Laszlo congratulated the newest citizens for all of their hard work.
“It’s taking a long time, I’m sure many people have gone through their individual processes. But thank you for sticking with it and for helping make our country and our community better,” she said in her message to the newly sworn citizens.
Laszlo will start serving as the executive director of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce next week.
Aside from Hsiao, Suguitan, and Song, the other newest citizens are Virginia R. Cabrera, couple Danilo E. and Marilou L. Dela Cruz, Carmen M. Lubao, Delfin G. Lubao, Mercelita L. Maglalang, Cloven L. Pangelinan, Corazon S. Primo, Loreta T. Rangamar, Haydee A. Reyes, Laudicia C. Sanchez, Joefelin L. Santos, Ramon R. Santos, and Rosita G. Taisacan.