Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Rep. Solomon Ortiz sponsors citizenship day at Texas A&M-Kingsville in event hosted by American Democracy Project, April 14

KINGSVILLE - March 09, 2007

Contact: Jill Scoggins

Attorneys, volunteers will assist people in applying for U.S. citizenship

Event part of ‘Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America’ celebration

KINGSVILLE, Texas (March 9, 2007) – Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz will sponsor Citizenship Day activities in conjunction with  Texas A&M University-Kingsville, set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 14, on the main floor of Jernigan Library on the university campus.

Hosted by the American Democracy Project, Citizenship Day will feature approximately 50 bilingual students and 10 attorneys volunteering to assist the public in applying for U.S. citizenship. Computers will be available for online application with assistance from the volunteer group. Paper forms also will be available for participants to complete with assistance from the volunteer group.

“The rewards of being a U.S. citizen are enormous, as are the responsibilities," said Ortiz. “It is the wide variety of people all over the world who come to this nation to share our constitutional ideals that makes us great. Yet navigating the process is tricky and overwhelming for many applying for citizenship. I am grateful for Texas A&M-Kingsville and its dedication to making our nation better by making the application process easier.”

Participants also can view a national traveling exhibit that tells the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, the Revolutionary War-era patriot and soldier and one of the most brilliant and influential figures in U.S. history. Born in 1757, Hamilton became the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury at age 32, serving in George Washington’s cabinet.

However, he came from humble beginnings, starting as a 15-year-old orphaned immigrant from the West Indies and rising to becoming Washington’s wartime aide in just five years.

“It is entirely fitting that Citizenship Day be held in conjunction with this exhibit that celebrates one of the earliest immigrants to rise to prominence in public service in this nation,” said Dr. Les Hunter, Regents Professor of history and co-coordinator of the American Democracy Project at A&M-Kingsville. “People in South Texas seeking U.S. citizenship can both find expert assistance to complete the process and learn about how the immigrant Alexander Hamilton contributed to the founding of our nation.”

To qualify for U.S. citizenship

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines, U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

  • a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
  • residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
  • an ability to read, write and speak English;
  • a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • good moral character;
  • attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
  • favorable disposition toward the United States.

All naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment and favorable disposition. The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens. Applicants should review carefully read the USCIS N-400 application instructions before applying.

About the American Democracy Project

The American Democracy Project is a multi-campus initiative that seeks to create an intellectual and experiential understanding of civic engagement for undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The goal of the project is to produce graduates who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful actions as citizens in a democracy. Co-coordinators of the American Democracy Project at Texas A&M-Kingsville are Cecilia Aros Hunter, university archivist, and Dr. Les Hunter, Regents Professor of history.

About the exhibit, “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America”

The exhibit was organized by the New York Historical Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the American Library Association. The traveling exhibition has been made possible in part through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to expanding American understanding of human experience and cultural heritage. The traveling exhibition is based on the New York Historical Society's exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hamilton’s death as well as the 200th anniversary of the founding of the society in 1804.

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