On January 21, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Bureau of Land Management granted U.S. citizenship to 102 immigrants along the formations of the Calico Hills at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. The ceremony took place at the BLM Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to welcome the new citizens at one of the nation’s most scenic natural landscapes, according to Las Vegas NBC affiliate KSNV.
The event was held on Martin Luther King Day, and marked the 50th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech. The new citizens were able to live out Dr. King’s dream of a welcoming, multi-cultural nation during the ceremony in which U.S. District Court Judge Philip M. Pro administered the Oath of Allegiance.
One week prior, Joanne Tordoff recited the Pledge of Allegiance and became a U.S. citizen after 14 years of waiting. The 42-year-old ski instructor at Aspen Highlands grew up in South Africa. After having a child, Tordoff and her husband left South Africa in search of a safe place for their daughter to grow up.
When her husband was accepted into a school in Kentucky for blacksmithing in 1998, and a year later the family moved to Roaring Fork Valley, Co. She was hired by Aspen Skiing Co., and believes that her steady job played a major role in the ability to gain citizenship because her work visas were renewed by the company.
They began the process in 2000 and received their green cards in April 2005. After five years, they could officially begin the citizenship application after paying a $680 fee each to the Department of Homeland Security. The couple went through extensive background checks, passed a U.S. history and civics exam, and spent an estimated $30,000 pursuing their green cards and citizenship.