After nearly 50 long years, Beatriz Caisip Villacrusis was finally recognized as a citizen of the nation she has chosen to call home for much of her life.
Following the naturalization ceremony last Tuesday at the U.S. District Court for the NMI, Villacrusis said it was truly a dream come true to finally become a naturalized citizen. “I arrived on Saipan back in 1976. It’s a dream come true. At last, I am finally a U.S citizen,” she said.
The ceremony was not only a milestone in Villacrusis’ life, it was also a bonding experience she shared with her daughter-in-law, Jovie Sagum Villacrusis, who was also naturalized with her.
“I am so honored to share this experience with my mother. I’m so proud of her, of us, and I am happy and excited for what’s to come,” she said.
Jovie Villacrusis said that she waited 10 years before she was naturalized. Although the wait was significantly shorter than her mother-in-law’s, it was longer than most spouses. “But we’re finally here, and I’m so thankful to my husband, my family, my friends, and everyone who supported me along the way,” she said.
Aside from the mother-daughter duo, nine others were sworn in by U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona last Tuesday, including 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, and Reymundo Tambauan Zinampan.
The keynote speaker for the group was Northern Marianas Humanities Council executive director Leo Pangelinan, in honor of the state holiday, Commonwealth Cultural Day.
Pangelinan encouraged the newly naturalized citizens to embrace who they are and to continue to share their cultural backgrounds despite changing their citizenship.
“Today, 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,” he said.