Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Citizenship Client Sworn In In Time to Vote This November

Monday, October 31st 2016

Ms. Bay (center) surrounded by her friends, and Advancing Justice-LA staff attorney Christine Chen, at her Citizenship ceremony
 
 
 
On September 22, 2016, Ms. Rosadell Bay fulfilled her longtime dream.  She, alongside 5,000 other individuals from countries like El Salvador, Vietnam, and her birth country, the Philippines, became a U.S. citizen.
 
Ms. Bay headed to the Los Angeles Convention Center on a sunny day with the support of her friends, Emma, her caregiver, and Emma’s sister and son.  Also in tow were five oxygen tanks.  In 2009, Ms. Bay was diagnosed with scleroderma, a rare condition that causes hardening of skin and tissues around the lungs. As a result, she is dependent on oxygen tanks to breathe.  Any physical effort is extremely taxing on her body and she relies on a wheelchair for mobility.  Ms. Bay is currently on a waiting list for a lung transplant.
 
“Homebound processing” is a special accommodation offered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which allowed biometrics and the naturalization interview to be performed in an applicant’s home if in-person travel to a USCIS field office is too difficult due to special needs. This accommodation gave Ms. Bay the option of having an in-home oath ceremony with a federal judge. However, it was uncertain whether her in-home ceremony could be scheduled before the deadline to register to vote.
 
Ms. Bay was determined to receive her citizenship in time for the November elections.  With support from her friends, and staff attorney, Christine Chen, she decided to brave the long lines and endure the crowds to attend the oath ceremony in-person at the Los Angeles Convention Center with thousands of others.  Not knowing how long the ceremony and trip would take, they brought extra oxygen tanks to ensure she would be comfortable the whole time.  
 
Staff attorney Christine Chen was Ms. Bay’s legal advocate and resource throughout her naturalization process.  For Christine, it was incredibly rewarding to see Ms. Bay attain her dream of citizenship, especially in light of the hardships she faced.
 
“Ms. Bay is an inspiration. She is incredibly grateful for this opportunity and proud to become an American citizen. In spite of her hardships and the uncertainty of her medical condition, Ms. Bay is incredibly optimistic about her future and felt it was very important for her to be able to vote this year. We can all learn something from her about gratitude. I feel very fortunate to help empower Ms. Bay achieve this dream of hers.” 

The Los Angeles Convention Center was filled with eager people and happy families supporting their loved ones on this momentous day.  In that room were also some Legal Permanent Residents that have long been supporting our country.  Most notably, four soldiers, three from Mexico and one from Afghanistan.  At the event, the attendees recited the pledge of allegiance, sang the national anthem, and watched a video of President Barack Obama welcoming them officially as American citizens in a country many of them have already called home for a long time.

After the ceremony, Ms. Bay was smiling brightly and it was evident her friends were overjoyed as they waved mini American flags in the air.  Despite all the hardships, she had overcome it all to become a citizen. Surely, this would be a moment she’d never forget. 
 
Just last month, Advancing Justice-LA sent out 1,500 postcards in various Asian languages, encouraging our citizenship clients to register to vote. We want everyone to have the chance to get out the vote, just like Ms. Bay. 

FOR LEGAL HELP

Advancing Justice-LA's helplines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: family, immigration, public benefits, employement, housing, and civil rights. 

English: 888.349.9695
需要協助嗎: 800.520.2356
도움이 필요하십니까: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ต้องการความช่วยเหลือ: 800.914.9583

For any questions about DRAI, please visit: https://advancingjustice-la.org/drai.

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.