Watch me presciently predict with amazing accuracy how the Miami Herald will cover a U.S. citizenship ceremony taking place today in South Florida.
MIAMI -- The achievement gap between Hispanic and white students is the same as it was in the early 1990s, despite two decades of accountability reforms, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday.
Citizenship ceremonies are normally emotional events, particularly for the immigrants swearing allegiance to the United States — a few of whom dab at their eyes to wipe away tears.But on Tuesday, María Betancur could not contain her joy as rivers of tears streamed down her cheeks. They came at the moment when she joined 180 other new citizens in a rendition of God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood.Betancur, 66, born in Colombia, stepped out of her place in the auditorium and ran to an area below the stage where the officials were standing, crying loudly in front of everyone.After the ceremony, Betancur said she couldn’t contain her pride and love for the United States.“I have deep gratitude for this beautiful country that has given me and many other immigrants great opportunities,” Betancur said.On Tuesday, she was among the new citizens swearing allegiance to their new country during an hour-long citizenship ceremony at the Hialeah Field Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — an event made all the more memorable because it helped mark Flag Day.The day, officially proclaimed as National Flag Day in 1949, marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes on June 14, 1777.During the ceremony, they waved a sea of small U.S. flags as they sang.Among the others who became citizens was Cuban-born Teresa Medina, a former resident of Mariel, whose family symbolized the immigrant odyssey of Cuban refugees.Medina, 60, was the first of her immediate family to reach South Florida, arriving on a boat with a group of other refugees 21 years ago.She was followed by another sister, Lupe Medina, who arrived during the Cuban rafter crisis of 1994.Their mother, Josefa López, 80, came in 1993 on a visitor visa and stayed.Cubans made up the largest contingent of new citizens in Tuesday’s ceremony with 99. They were followed by Colombians, 27; Venezuelans, 13, and Jamaicans, 10.The new citizens came from a total of 20 countries.