Thursday, September 28, 2006

Congratulations to new U.S. citizens

Local Hispanic immigrants beat the odds; many Latin Americans are ineligible

The Tennessean, the
Nashville City Paper
, and WTVF NewsChannel 5 all covered the recent naturalization ceremony at The Hermitage, the Historic Home of Andrew Jackson. Ninety-nine people from 40 countries took the oath of U.S. citizenship, formalizing their new identity and allegiance.

Among the new citizens were Ana Rivera of El Salvador, featured in a picture in the Tennessean, and Yuri Cunza of Peru. Cunza is the President of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*.

The City Paper reports that 1,400 immigrants have been naturalized as U.S. citizens in Nashville so far this year. It also reports that only 10 percent of the 99 participating in the recent ceremony were from Central or South America, and only 3 were from Mexico, despite the fact that Latin Americans make up half of Nashville's foreign-born.

Cunza told the City Paper that many Latin American immigrants cannot become citizens because they cannot first get visas, which require education and financial independence.

*Hispanic Chamber 101: There are four Hispanic chambers of commerce in Middle Tennessee: the first three are the Franklin Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The Tennessean profiled these three chambers in this article in June 2006. A fourth chamber was incorporated this year (the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) but no activities have been announced.

Focus: Business, Chamber

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