New Americans will take their oath of citizenship in several ceremonies during September. Jerry Heinauer is district director for Citizenship and Immigration Services in the region that includes Iowa and Nebraska. He says this is the end of the agency’s fiscal year, and it has goals to meet — interviewing and naturalizing 4-thousand 330 people to become citizens, a numerical goal he says they’re going to exceed. Another goal is customer service, he says, including treating people with respect and dignity and cutting “processing time” to six months or less. The processing time is from the time they fill out an application until the time they take that oath — and to be eligible to become a naturalized citizen, they’ll have to meet guidelines including five years as a lawful permanent resident, “good moral character,” demonstrated knowledge of the history and government of the US, and be able to read, write and speak English. Contrary to a popular image, those new citizens may not have to sit through a class to learn all they’ll need to know. Some communities have organized volunteers who help teach new residents what they’ll need to know to, but some study on their own. Heinauer says as the agency’s fiscal year comes to a close there are several naturalization ceremonies scheduled, including two large ceremonies to be held in Omaha on September 28 and the 29th in Des Moines.
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