Bill Filley of Eugene is about to take a break from his business, Prairie Road Automotive, to lead a special cross-country motorcycle ride. Filley and about 100 other motorcyclists will ride more than 3,500 miles in 19 days through 12 states and visit the families of 63 U.S. servicemen and women who died while serving the country.
“Where is the Statue of Liberty?” “New York.” “How many U.S. Senators are there?” Paulina Padilla paused. It was 6:30 p.m., and she was seated in her normal chair on the third-floor classroom of Ebbert United Methodist Church in Springfield, Oregon. Even though it was just practice, the pressure of answering correctly felt real. “50 … No, no wait, 100.”
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are approximately 6 million applicants for naturalization every year. Between April 1 and June 30 in 2017, the country approved 204,931 cases for U.S. citizenship, with the state of Oregon approving 1,996 of these cases. In time, Padilla and the rest of the students in the Downtown Language’s Citizenship class hope to add themselves to those numbers.