Love and Citizenship from the Heart of California


This is Teacher Jennifer from US Citizenship Podcast. Every week we bring you practice interviews, quizzes, and the latest news that help you get ready for your US citizenship interview. Today we’re going to talk to Teacher Rene Smith from Madera Adult School. Let’s get started Please stand. Please raise your right hand. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Yes I do. Please put down your hand. What did you just promise? I promise to tell the truth Explain how you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen. I have been a permanent resident for 10 years. 10 years Please show me your Green Card, your Driver’s License, and your photo ID. Here they are. Thank you very much. What is your full legal name? My name is Maria Magdalena Rivas Is the name on your Green Card the same as your legal name? No it’s not Why is it not the same? When I came I was single and I got
married. Congratulations! Thank you What is your date of birth? February 1st 1970 And what is your date of permanent residence? July 1st 2009 What is your country of birth? Philippines What is your country of nationality? Philippines What part of Philippines are you from? the Visayan Island What is your current address my address? My address is 1940 Howard Road Madera, California 93637 Have you lived anywhere else in the past 10 years? No Do you work? Yes I do Where do you work? I work for the school district. So what do you do for the school district? I am an aide. Are you an aide in any of the special classes? No just a Kindergarten Aide. Kindergarten Aide, okay very good Have you taken any trips outside the
United States in the past five years? Yes last year. My last trip was last year. When did you leave and when did you come back? Okay, I left June 15, 2018 and I came back July 25th, 2018. Where did you go? I went to the Philippines. How many total days for all your trips have you been outside of the United States? Oh about a hundred and ten And how many trips would that be? About four Are you married? Yes I am Is your husband an American citizen? Yes he is, When did you get married? In 2009 2009 And then you came to the United States? (She nodded her head YES) Do you have any children? We have one. Was the child born here or in the Philippines? Here Have you ever claimed to be a US citizen? No Have you ever voted in the
United States? No Have you ever been declared legally incompetent? No Do you pay your taxes every year? Yes Do you file jointly with your husband? Yes Do you belong to any groups or organizations? Yes, one. What organization is that? It’s the alumni association where I graduated from. Do you belong to any organizations at your church or any school district organizations? Well, the organization for the classified employees. Okay is that a union? Yes Okay, very good. Have you ever been a communist? No What is a communist? For example, a person who lived in Cuba or Moscow and they have this belief that it’s against democracy. Have you ever been a terrorist? No What is a terrorist? It’s a person who would try to attack
for example the United States. Have you ever participated any in any violent rebellion? No Have you ever been a . . . ( wrong question) Have you ever hurt or tried to kill anybody? No Have you ever committed a crime? No Have you ever been arrested? No Have you ever been in jail? No Have you ever have you ever sold or smuggled illegal drugs? No Have you ever been a habitual drunkard? No Have you ever tried to help somebody enter the United States illegally? No Have you ever (wrong question) Have you ever been deported No Did you ever join the United States military? No Now let us continue Do you support the Constitution in the form of government of the United States? Yes What is the Constitution? It is the highest law in the United States. What form of government do we have in the United States? Republican and Democratic Okay very good Are you willing to take the full Oath of Allegiance to the United States? Yes What is an oath? It’s a promise. And what is allegiance? It’s loyalty Yes, exactly. If the law requires that are you willing to bear arms for the United States Army? Yes If the law requires that are you willing to perform noncombatant services in the US Army? Yes What is to bear arms? It’s carrying a weapon so I could defend the United States. Perfect What is non-combatant? Not using any weapon. If there’s any emergency will you help the the government to help other people in during the emergency? Yes Do you promise everything that you said is true? Yes I do! I would like to introduce to you Miss Rene Smith from Madera! YAY! When did you get your citizenship? Five years after I came in . . . about five or six years I came in. I came when I was twenty-eight years old. What do you remember from your citizenship process then? Well I did not know that there were class. I mean I wasn’t very knowledgeable on what is involved in this, so I applied and then all they asked me questions. Did you go to class? No class at all. In Madera, there was nothing at that time. And so the first question was obviously the personal question, And he saw—it was a guy, young man–he saw that I was pregnant (he) came in and so “Have a seat,” you know, swearing in and then “Have a seat” and the question was of course, you know, “What’s your name?” and then “How long have you been in the United States?” and then probably three or four questions
about personal. There was nothing of “Do you swear Allegiance?” or any of this: “Have you ever been . . . ” At that time, the application form was only like ten pages. 10 pages!?!?! Yeah less than this 20 pages. That (N-400) changed in 2014. It changed so much! And then, okay, so, civic question: “Who is your senator? and “How many years does he hold office?” Oh the first question before that was: “Why do you want to become an American citizen?” What did you say? So I said, “Well because I have a choice in the United States.” I came from my country at the time when there was a dictator and you know, (here) I have a choice. So he said “Oh okay, then. So here’s your choice . . . ” And the question of its own “Who is the senator in California?” Just one And then “How many years does he hold office?” Just those two And then write a question . . . I mean write a sentence, Any sentence that you like. So I said: “I am having a girl.” Oh, you pass! Congratulations! That’s why when I was able to, you know, to teach this one I said “My Gosh, the changes!!!” So how long have you been teaching citizenship? Just the last three or four years. What was different for you? you you all you knew about the
citizenship process but then when you went to teach citizenship what did you
learn what all of this civics history and civics questions and I didn’t you
know you’re supposed to have that and then the other one is the right I was
able to learn that oh do you have to write I mean I knew that I had to write
but you have to write deep dated sentences yeah because I was surprised
and I said all right whatever you want to write so that’s essentially what that
is and I didn’t know that it was for the whole garment I mean from the year when
the United say started up to now that was the only thing and then all those
questions about personnel have you ever been a prostitute and your texts explain
all that really offensively offensive it’s uncomfortable and also I read
somewhere that you know some some ladies from certain countries for example
Vietnam who went through the Vietnam War and then the Philippines and how they
met their husbands were Americans and they change it the questions there have
you ever been a bar girl I have never heard that what I read it in somewhere
that I said it I bet you’re true what you’re saying is true yes because more
good moral character and I said oh my god and how do I explain this to my
students about the word prostitute the world you know and I said oh I didn’t we
I feel yeah and I think people don’t understand that
these women are supporting their families they’re making their best
choices yeah so yeah right girl so yes thank God they did not ask me that
because I’m very America yeah so yeah anyway do you have
any advice for your students oh the first thing I always tell them is
you know to think of the cultural differences country a woman does not
look at a man if your interviewer is a man look straight in the eye and all so
I always tell them about how how to conduct them yeah and think positive
don’t go in there like walking like like this I said you know you you present
this hour of oh I’m going to fail I’m going to fit so I have them walk through
and then when I say good morning and they say good night I only sell it I
repeat good morning good morning mrs. Smith Wow okay so the whole body
language is the whole because that’s not an fit and what is that future series
yeah because they for the first time in their life they have this one-to-one
interview most of my students they get there just because of word friend or
friend for difference yeah yeah so they never have gone through done that that’s
right they’re so nervous so you command what you know and then
talk slowly yes that is very very close when they speak English very fast they
nobody will understand you not slowly enroll or sometimes they answer the
question before you even ask that and I was it from you that I heard so I
tell them listen to the question think before you open your mouth yeah so yeah
especially when in the part 12 section yes because yes it easy to sear it here
the have you and say yes or no and it is like do you know what they’re asking do
you understand what they’re saying so you have to say if you don’t understand
one of those words you have to yeah before they before you say yes and I
said if you say their answer yes very fast they’ll stop and say well well then
you explain yeah and that’s when you get crazy
yeah so that’s one any other advice by yeah oh that’s
really because I know for most men I tell them okay
the interview is 80% your personal life so be careful about what you say the
exper say whatever is in your application form do not extra yes
nothing extra don’t say okay oh by the way I have a traffic ticket and you know
they go you know and they owe it happened like this I said no only say
where it happened what was it how much you paid only if they ask you yes yeah
sir I don’t think people know how beautiful Madera is can you tell us a
little bit about Madeira Madeira is a small town many people look down on it
because it’s you knows but we’re worried about ok Madeira is in the Central
Valley it’s between Fresno and Sacramento Modesto murders okay when I
first came it was mostly Hispanics and then in Italians but did you know that
the Filipinos were one of their ritual people to organize the farmer oh yes
before seasons right Filipinos have been in the Central Valley forever right and
it’s filled with its agricultural economy and the one thing that I really
liked about it is that in the summertime you have all the fruits unfortunately our recording got cut off
but Rene did go on and describe all the different fruits and nuts that are grown
in the Madera region and how that agricultural workers formed the basis
for the adult education program in this rural area of California Madera has
grown from its small beginnings to providing wide range of horses for ESL
citizenship GED Adult Basic Skills high school completion and many many career
opportunity classes you can learn more about all the different programs
available in California adult education schools by going to Cal Adult Ed org
that see al a d ul te d dot o-r-g thanks to the students and staff of Moe
pedis Adult School and Madera Adult School please visit us on the web at US
citizen pod dot-com will you’ll find more information about citizenship and
resources for the upcoming Constitution Day also visit us on our YouTube channel
thanks for listening I know you will be a great American citizen thank you so
much bye-bye

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