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那一天,我的祖父宣誓成为了美国公民

更新时间:2016-9-19 10:27:48 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Me, My Grandfather and Citizenship Day
那一天,我的祖父宣誓成为了美国公民

My grandfather immigrated to the United States from China almost 100 years ago — on Nov. 16, 1916. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and subsequent similar legislation, there was no open door to the American dream for him. He was able to enter only by buying a piece of paper representing that he was the son of a United States citizen.

将近100年前,我的祖父从中国移民到了美国——在1916年11月16日那一天。由于1882年的《排华法案》(Chinese Exclusion Act)和此后的类似立法,美国梦的大门并不向他敞开。他是在买了一份文件,证明自己是一名美国公民的儿子后,才得以入境的。

My grandfather worked as a waiter in Chinese restaurants in New York for many years. He returned to China only twice — once in the 1920s, when he married my grandmother, and once in the 1930s, when my father was born. Both times he left his family in China to return to the United States. He could not bring his wife or son with him, because of the immigration laws, but he could better support them here in America. He shared a railroad apartment in Chinatown with other Chinese men, and every month, like them, he would buy a money order at the post office and send it home to his family in China.

我的祖父在纽约的中餐馆做了很多年的服务生。他曾两次返回中国——一次是在上世纪20年代,他和我的祖母结婚,还有一次是30年代,我父亲出生的时候。但每一次他都只能告别家人,一个人回到美国。由于移民法案的规定,他不能带上妻儿,但在美国的工作可以给家里带来更好的收入。他在唐人街跟其他华人合住一间铁路公寓,他们和他一样,每个月都会到邮局买一张汇票,寄给在中国的家人。

In 1947, something remarkable happened: My grandfather became an American citizen.

1947年发生了一件了不起的事:我的祖父成了一名美国公民。

Today I see his journey from a special perspective. I am a federal judge, and like many of my judicial colleagues, I have been able to play a personal role in the process as immigrants from all around the world have become American citizens.

对于他的这段经历,今天的我会用一种特殊的眼光来看待。我是一名联邦法官,和司法界的许多同仁一样,在世界各地的移民成为美国公民的过程中,我也尽了自己的一份力。

On Sept. 16, the federal courts and many Americans celebrate Constitution Day, which marks the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787, and Citizenship Day, which celebrates the rights of all Americans. All across the country federal judges are swearing in new Americans.

9月16日,联邦法院乃至许多美国人都在庆祝宪法日和公民日,前者是纪念1787年美国宪法于费城签署,后者则是在欢庆全体美国人的权利。此时,全国各地的联邦法官都在主持新美国人的宣誓仪式。

Because we are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, many of these ceremonies will be held in national parks, including Ellis Island in New York, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kan. On Friday in Ellis Island’s Great Hall, hundreds of new Americans will swear to uphold our nation’s Constitution and to fulfill their obligations as citizens.

由于今年同时还是国家公园管理局(National Park Service)成立100周年,许多地方把仪式放在国家公园举行,其中有纽约州的埃利斯岛、华盛顿的林肯纪念堂以及堪萨斯州托皮卡的布朗诉教育局国家历史遗址(Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site)。周五,在埃利斯岛大会堂,数百名新美国人宣誓拥护我国宪法,履行其公民义务。

When my grandfather was naturalized as a citizen, he had been separated from my father for many years. But because he became a citizen, when the immigration laws were reformed in the 1950s, my grandfather was able to bring his family here. By then, my father was a young man in Hong Kong, with a family of his own. My parents and their three children — including me — were able to join my grandfather in America.

祖父入籍前和我的父亲分居两地已有多年。但因为他成为了一名美国公民,当移民法在50年代出现改革的时候,他得以把家人带到这里。当时,在香港的父亲已经是一个青年人,有自己的家庭。最终,我的父母和3个孩子——包括我在内——在美国和祖父团聚了。

My parents spoke little English. My father worked as a cook in Chinese restaurants and my mother as a seamstress in garment factories. They understood the importance of education, and thus my siblings and I worked hard in school. My parents also appreciated the importance of citizenship, and they became naturalized in 1965. And because I was only 11 years old that year, I became an American citizen as well, by operation of law.

我父母的英语不好。父亲在中餐馆当厨师,母亲是服装厂的裁缝。他们知道教育的重要,因此我们兄弟姐妹几个读书都很勤奋。我的父母也知道国籍的重要,他们于1965年入籍。那年我只有11岁,因此也依法成为一名美国公民。

I was appointed a federal trial judge in 1994 and served in that capacity until I was elevated to the federal appellate court in 2010. I now sit in the magnificent Thurgood Marshall United States Court House in Lower Manhattan, in chambers once occupied by Justice Marshall himself when he was a judge on our court in the 1960s. I know that none of this would have happened if my grandfather and parents had not worked so hard for so long, had they not become United States citizens.

我在1994年受命成为一名联邦承审法官,此后一直担任此职,直到2010年升至联邦上诉庭。此刻我身在雄伟的下曼哈顿瑟古德·马歇尔联邦法院(Thurgood Marshall United States Court House),我的办公室,正是马歇尔大法官本人曾经工作过的地方,他在上世纪60年代是这里的一名法官。我知道,如果没有祖父和父母的辛勤劳作,如果他们没有成为美国公民,这一切都是不可能的。

My grandfather’s naturalization certificate hangs on the wall in my chambers. On the back, it states that he was sworn in as a new citizen in “open court,” in the very courthouse, I believe, where I sit now.

祖父的归化证书此刻就挂在我的办公室墙上。它的背面写着,他是在“公开法庭”宣誓成为新公民的,据我所知,地点正是在我此刻身处的法院。

One of the things I have missed since becoming an appellate judge is the naturalization ceremony. When I served as a Federal District Court judge, I performed the naturalization ceremony regularly. I would naturalize some 200 immigrants at a time, from dozens of countries around the world. And when I performed that ceremony, I would take my grandfather’s naturalization certificate into the courtroom, and I would show it to the new citizens and tell them the story of my grandfather.

归化仪式是我成为上诉法官后一直怀念的事情。在联邦地区法院任法官时,我经常主持归化仪式。每一次仪式大约会有200名移民,分别来自世界各地的几十个国家。在主持仪式时,我会把祖父的归化证书带到法庭,拿给新公民们看,并把祖父的故事讲给他们听。

When the ceremony was over, I would shake the hand of each new citizen. I was most inspired by the elderly, some hobbling, some wheelchair-bound, who still appreciated the importance of becoming an American citizen.

仪式结束后,我会和每一位新公民握手。这其中最令我感慨的是老年人,有的拄着拐杖,有的坐在轮椅上,他们依然懂得成为一名美国公民的重要性。

On this Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, I will be thinking of my grandfather and of the many new citizens I was privileged to swear in over the years, and of the principles of liberty, justice and equality that have made our country so great.

值宪法日与公民日之际,我会想起我的祖父,想起这些年来我有幸作为领誓法官见证入籍的人们,想起自由、正义与平等的原则,正是这些原则,成就了这个伟大的国家。

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