122 children receive their US citizenship certificates in downtown LA

Ruxandra Guidi/KPCC

Inside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices downtown, during a children’s citizenship ceremony April 26, 2012.

Ruxandra Guidi/KPCC

Fourteen-year-old Samuel Douek (L) and his dad, Ezra.


U.S. citizenship ceremonies are regularly held around the country, but children rarely get their own chance to be recognized as new Americans.

Fourteen-year-old Samuel Douek’s face was beaming as he stood in line to receive his citizenship certificate. Holding a small U.S. flag, he said he’s one of 10 children in his family to become a citizen — he’s the last, because he’s also the youngest.

His Australian family has been in the U.S. on and off for years. His dad, Ezra, was so glad to see his last child become a citizen that he forgot to let Samuel speak for himself.

“He made the pledge, and he also [made] the oath, and then we watched Obama," Douek said. "It was very exciting, and very, very, very touching."

Samuel was one of 122 kids who received certificates of citizenship thanks to their already-naturalized parents, as in Samuel’s case, or through adoption.

Under the law, a child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen when at least one of his or her parents is a U.S. citizen, and when the child is under 18 and living with their parents within the country.

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