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Citizenship dreams realized for Cannon military spouses

Everett Young introduces himself at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Feb. 2, 2018. Young hails from Scotland, and earned his U.S. citizenship at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lane T. Plummer)

Everett Young, Jamie Andrews and Adelina Wheeler complete the Naturalization Oath of Citizenship during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Feb. 2, 2018. The oath of citizenship is where immigrants declare allegiance and swear loyalty to a country. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lane T. Plummer)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

For Everett Young, Jamie Andrews and Adelina Wheeler, February 2, 2018, will be marked as the day they became American citizens.

Being military spouses at Cannon, their path to obtaining citizenship has been a journey, one that both they and their spouses stuck with together.

All three spouses were sworn in during a naturalization ceremony that culminated a day long immigration workshop being held at the Airman and Family Readiness Center by members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.

The workshop, which is held about every six months, gives military members or those with base access an opportunity to ask specific questions regarding their unique situations. Everybody’s circumstances are different and even though information on citizenship can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/, the material may be confusing or vague.

According to Jesse Mendez, USCIS Albuquerque Field Office director, a benefit of being stationed in New Mexico is that the Homeland Security office in Albuquerque has a military liaison committee.

“We have a group of individuals within our office that have volunteered to provide a step above the regular customer service to military members and their families,” he said.

Mendez said that the committee also works to find ways to expedite processes where they can. They have a dedicated mailbox for the military liaison committee at abqmilnatz@uscis.dhs.gov.

The key with immigration and citizenship procedures is to be prompt. Mendez says a lot of the processes deal with paperwork that gets handled on a first come first served basis. Procrastination is your worst enemy.

Along with the opportunity to ask questions to USCIS employees, the workshop also provides needed forms, pamphlets, business cards for good points of contact and flash cards for the naturalization civics test.

The first step toward citizenship or immigration is the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/, but these workshops can still be a valuable resource for military members or their family members going through the process.