Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Citizen: Xu Shang Xia

Yang Baoyu and Xu Shang Xia

Xu Shang Xia was born in Canton, China in 1930. He became a psychology professor and taught in universities in Beijing and Guangzhou. He suffered terribly during the Cultural Revolution, but refused to compromise his intellectual freedom.

Professor Xu and his wife, Yang Baoyu, immigrated to California to help take care of their grandchildren. He and his wife would alternate babysitting duties during the day so that the other could go to ESL class in the morning. In the evening, they would walk over a mile to school to attend citizenship classes. They were diligent and faithful students, true role models to other students and inspiration for their teachers.

On the evening before his Oath Ceremony, Professor Xu and Mrs Yang attended the Citizenship class to talk about their Citizenship interviews. Mrs Yang passed last year, but Professor Xu delayed his inteview for health reasons. They both passed the interview easily because they had made a tremendous effort to study, understand, and practice English and Civics questions and answers.

Most citizenship interviews follow the N-400. The following exchange, however, was a surprise:

Examiner: Have you travelled outside of the United States in the past five years?

Professor: No.

Examiner: Have you travelled outside of the United States during your permanent residence?

Professor: No.

Examiner: If this is true, why do you have so many "stamps" in your (PRC) passport?

Professor: I was a visiting scholar before.

Examiner: What was your field of study?

Professor: I studied psychology.

Examiner: Were you a psychiatrist?

Professor: No, I was not a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a doctor; I was a psychology professor.

Examiner: What schools did you visit?

Professor: University of California at Los Angeles.

Examiner: UCLA?

Professor: Yes.

Examiner: What did you do at UCLA?

Professor: (Universities) exchange teachers. I studied psychology.

The USCIS Examiner seemed satisfied with the answers--he immediately moved to the 96 questions which Professor Xu easily aswered.

I am so proud of Professor Xu because he answered the "surprise" questions clearly and calmly.

  • USCIS examiners are not trying to trick people. The USCIS examiner asks more questions to make sure that everyone follows the law.
  • Review your N-400 and supporting documents (passport, marriage/divorce certificate, etc).
  • Think about what kind of surprise (or embarassing) questions you could be asked.
  • Practice these questions and answers.
  • Stay calm. Answer each question simply and truthfully.

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