James Pierre of Haiti became one of 33 youngsters between ages six to 15 who received their United States citizenship in a special ceremony preceding the baseball game between the Brooklyn Cyclones and Auburn Doubledays at MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Pierre joined other Caribbean nationals from such countries as Guyana, Jamaica, and St. Lucia in receiving their U.S. citizenship and naturalization. The ceremony featured personnel from the Cyclones, including its General Manager Steve Cohen, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) New York District Director Adreaa Quarentillo, who helped in their receiving certification of naturalization.
One of the requirements for the naturalization of children under 18 years of age is that he or she is a new permanent resident living in the United States in the legal and physical custody of a U.S. citizen parent. To receive evidence of a U.S. citizenship, an application for certification of citizenship had to be filed on behalf of the child.
Pierre enjoyed watching the Cyclone game even though he probably won’t play baseball when he enters Midwood High School come this fall. He’ll be a ninth grader in school.
“It feels good to get my citizenship,” said Pierre. “I’ve been living in Brooklyn for nine years.
Another individual to become a citizen of the United States was Hygina Jonas, who comes from St. Lucia.
“It’s nice living in St. Albans and I enjoy it,” she added.
Her father Karl Sandy, who hails from Trinidad, likes soccer and cricket and loves baseball and basketball. He’ll continue to play soccer and cricket at Baisely Park, Queens.
“It’s beautiful and wonderful,” added Sandy, who spent most of his life in Queens. “This is my first time at a Cyclone game.”
Then there was Shamer Chalmers, also a resident of Flatbush. He will be attending a charter school and likes basketball and football.
The USCIS New York district director thanked all the parents of these children for participating in the ceremonies. Each of the new citizens received certificates.
A couple of years ago when the then new director Alejandro Manorkis started the organization, he came up with the idea of the USCIS stage ceremonies at ball parks because what is more American than doing this at all the American baseball venues. The ceremonies were set for different baseball parks. Last week was the first time such an event was held at MCU Park.
“This is the first time that we are doing something like this here at MCU Park,” said Michael Morochnick, a big New York Mets fan, and an immigration service officer.
“I love baseball and the ceremonies. It’s a perfect package.”
“The ceremony was excellent, in our first time year,” added Nicholas Cycyk, Immigration Service Officer with USCIS. “We hope to do it again. I’m a Cyclone fan. That’s my home team. I live in Brooklyn.”
“We had 33 children from 16 countries who became citizens,” summed up Quarantillo. “Kids and baseball go together. It was a great place to bring new (these) citizens into the American family. They bring a wealth of culture and tradition with them that we never want them to lose. At times they tend to adapt some of the American ways.”
The fans went home from the ball park feeling very optimistic about the Cyclones success and future because pitching held up in a 2-0 win over Auburn. The locals are struggling a little bit with around a .500 record under first-year Manager Rich Donnelly.