For those of you who don't know, Raul is my hubby of 12 years (pictured above at a diner this morning). No. We haven't gotten officially married, and our partnership might be unconventional by other people's standards, but we have stood strong all these years, through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad times. And for far longer than many straight married couples, although the intent is not to rub it in their faces.
So there we were, William, Raul and I, at a diner outside the Brooklyn Immigration Court, feeling a little nervous and waiting for the time to go to the citizenship ceremony. We had our cameras and our cam-enhanced cell-phones. Unfortunately, when we made the security line, we found out that phones and cameras were banned and, worse yet, that we would only be allowed to watch the procedures from a separate room through an internal televised feed.
No. It wasn't like the pretty, pretty US citizenship ceremonies shown on movies and TV, with the US national anthem played for effect, and people pledging allegiance to the United States of America. It was more like what you would expect at a Brooklyn federal office: Bureaucracy, bored officials, a packed court, and little citizenship pride.
And still, when we were finally allowed inside court for the citizenship oath, I couldn't feel but moved: I was in the presence of hundreds of people who, like my hubby, had struggled to reach this one moment, and I was in awe of their perseverance.
As a matter of fact, when the judge ordered everyone to stand up and recite the oath, I couldn't help but look around the room and feel overwhelmed by emotion. Anti-immigrant folk always claim that they are not against immigrants, just 'illegal' immigration, but they rarely talk about how difficult it is to gain immigration rights in this country. Nothing farther from the truth. It's difficult as hell!
But there was Raul, looking a bit anxious but also a bit happy. And me, looking at him across the room and finally realizing what a momentous occasion this was. And then tears.
Damn, Raulito! You are finally a citizen, after all these years. And still very much part of me. I could not be prouder of you! Congratulations, bubby! Hugs! El Blabbeador.