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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

In the Heat of Becoming a New U.S. Citizen

August 28, 2003

Re "New Citizens Eager to Add Voices to the Fray," Aug. 21: My German-born wife was among the 6,298 Californians sworn in as American citizens recently. She was very excited to be able to be there, having diligently learned her facts for the citizenship exam (passing with 100% score), and even went out and bought a new outfit to wear for her special event.

We drove out to the Pomona Fairplex, parked our car on the hot tarmac and walked almost a quarter-mile to get to the building where the ceremony was to be held, only to discover that all of the applicants were being made to walk around the entire circumference of the building (which is the length of two football fields), outside in the hot sun, to their designated entrance.

I saw many older folks who looked as if they were struggling to make their journey, turning this happy event into some kind of endurance test. Too bad the people responsible for the logistics of this event couldn't have been more considerate of our newest fellow Americans and made their long journey to citizenship a little bit easier.

Chris Criner

Aliso Viejo

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