« ÎnapoiContinuați »
citizens come from countries run by dictators who are striving to expand their empires and destroy liberty and freedom. The sig. nificance of such a change in citizenship should not go unrecognized at such time.
Although the ceremony cannot take the place of the continuing daily practice of democracy and Americanism, a proper ceremonial observance of this important step in the life of the individual will greatly assist in guidance toward appreciation of the duties and privileges of citizenship that lie ahead.
Through the naturalization ceremony the spirit of liberty and freedom can be born in the minds and hearts of new citizens and renewed in those of native-born. When the naturalization court, civil and educational authorities, patriotic organizations, and individuals cooperate in an impressive naturalization ceremony, the new citizen not only feels honored with his citizenship but is impressed with the fact that he has become an integral part of the community in which he, too, has responsibility. In turn, those who are already citizens can be made better citizens by welcoming, and witnessing the appreciation of, the foreign born who are becoming Americans by choice rather than by accident of birth. When the new and native-born citizens come together for a common ideal-one pledging his allegiance, the other renewing his loyalty—both add to the unity which has been, and is, the strength of this Nation.
Chapter 3 3
THE COURT CEREMONY
O RIGID PROGRAM can be laid down for any court.
recognizing the significance of induction into citizenship, must face its own problems and chart its own procedures. The steps taken by each to comply with the purpose of the joint resolution of Congress will necessarily be different. Evidently the Congress recognized the varying situations of the courts, as the language of the joint resolution is sufficiently broad and elastic to meet the desires of any court at any time. No single induction ceremony, even within the same court, need be exactly like any other, so long as each conforms to the minimum essentials.
The essentials for compliance with the spirit of the joint resolution would seem to be: (1) the rendering of the decree of naturalization; (2) the administering of the oath; (3) the delivery of an address by the judge or someone designated by him; and (4) some participation by “civil and educational authorities and patriotic organizations.” The discussion that follows will not concern itself with the minimum essentials alone but will deal with practices and procedures in naturalization courts that extend beyond the scope of such essentials. The purpose of so doing is to be of assistance to any court that may desire to expand its ceremony beyond the minimum requirements in order to meet its own peculiar needs.
As previously indicated, the naturalization courts of the United States present differences in viewpoint and practice because of local conditions and leadership. For example, courts that have heavy calendars and crowded courtrooms afford less opportunity for elaborate ceremonies than do those that have time and space available where naturalization proceedings can be
more leisurely. Also, situations may arise in which individuals, for example men in the military service, must be admitted singly and at irregular intervals rather than in classes. In the latter instance, the intimate and sympathetic attitude of the judge and his court officials must take the place of a more formal ceremony.
Although freedom is desirable in selecting the procedures applicable to the needs of the particular community or the particular occasion of induction, it is believed that, within the framework of the joint resolution, some general procedures can be developed that will insure an orderly flow of events, and thus save time and detailed planning on the part of court officials. This will not interfere with local differences, or the expression of initiative, imagination, and resourcefulness. If anything, all the essential differences, which contribute variety to the proceedings, will be made more effective by the establishment of a more or less uniform order of events.
The ceremony should be stripped clean of everything that fails to reflect basic ideas concerning citizenship. If the ceremonial portrays and makes impressive these ideas, then it cannot be challenged as a show or a dramatic spectacle. Those in charge must direct each and every procedure toward the end of emphasizing the worth of citizenship; otherwise the ceremony can become subject to criticism.
TIME AND PLACE
The selection of the time and place for holding naturalization proceedings, of course, depends upon the
type of ceremony planned and the local situation. Judges generally favor the practice of having naturalization hearings in the courtroom, in the daytime, and during the regular court week. If time and space are adequate, the courtroom is the proper place and the daytime of the regular court week the proper time for holding such ceremonies.
However, the time or place is not so important as the induction itself. If naturalization proceedings have to be wedged in among arraignments, motions, and unrelated activities; if petitioners must be crowded into courtrooms and lined along the walls, or kept waiting in huddles outside the courtroom; if they must be hurried through proceedings by tired or harassed judges, then, in order to carry out
the purpose of the joint resolution, it is preferable to hold court for the granting of citizenship away from the courtroom and at a time when the event can be made one of significance. In view of the fact that every final hearing must, by law, be had “in open court,” 1 the place where the hearing is to be held should be duly designated by the court as the "courtroom.'
When the ceremony is held in some place other than the courtroom, judicial procedures should be carefully followed. This is not impossible, as they can be followed and made impressive in a place far removed from the courtroom. The truth of this is evidenced by Presidential inaugurations in the Nation's Capital.
In recent years many college and university presidents have faced problems similar to those encountered by some judges. gradu. ation classes have grown larger, with an accompanying increase of relatives and friends, the school officials have been compelled to abandon the old college chapels in which commencement exercises were held and to use larger auditoriums, or even stadiums erected primarily for athletic purposes.
Some judges, even before the passage of the joint resolution, began to deal with the problem of time and space by setting aside a day for naturalization during which no other business was transacted. Several judges devote one or more Saturdays each month to naturalization work. By setting aside a day that is outside of the general trial week, they can easily keep it clear for naturalization purposes. Others have held, and recommend, evening sessions. The judges who have held both day and evening sessions of court are in a position to contrast the hurried, perfunctory, daytime proceedings with more leisurely evening sessions. In speaking of some of the daytime sessions over which he has presided, the Honorable F. Dickinson Letts, Associate Justice, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, has said: “* * * The proceedings have been too perfunctory and have been lacking in essential dignity. It is not uncommon to see the applicants for citizenship appear in court for induction in their work clothes and frequently in their shirt sleeves. It
18 U. S. C. 1447.