If you have visited the Collierville Library, you have likely seen Sujatha Vasudevan quietly shelving books or assisting a patron through the stacks. Sheâ€™s been a part of the Library for over a decade starting as a volunteer and later becoming an employee. This month, Sujatha can also say sheâ€™s a part of much more â€“ sheâ€™s now a United States citizen.
â€œWeâ€™re safe now,â€ said Sujatha. â€œThereâ€™s no more paperwork, and itâ€™s permanent.â€ Originally from Chennai, India, she and her husband, Vasudevan Gopal, first moved to Charlotte, North Carolina with his job transfer with FedEx in 1999. Seven years later, their family moved to Collierville, Tennessee.
For 20 years, her family used the Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) process that legally allowed Sujatha and her family to live and work in the United States. A Green Card is valid for 10 years, and then the cardholder must go through the entire application process again.
â€œWe applied for citizenship last August (2018),â€ said Sujatha. â€œWe then were given our exam to prepare for our interview, which is ten questions that could be anything about the United Statesâ€™ history and geography. It could be â€˜Who was the President in the first World War?â€™ or â€˜What does the U.S. Constitution do?â€™ It was a lot.â€œ
In addition to preparing for the interview, Sujatha and her family were required to take an English and Civics test, send in numerous documents and applications, get fingerprinted and receive a background check. Months after she applied for citizenship, she was called in January of 2019 to set up her interview. Finally, in July of 2019, the process was finished after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted Sujathaâ€™s citizenship request and she took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
When asked what she was looking forward to as a U.S. Citizen, Sujatha shared, â€œI can vote now, and sponsor my family from India if they want to apply for a Green Card.â€
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Sujatha also mentioned that she plans to stay in Collierville.
â€œI love this place. Itâ€™s idle without much traffic, and the people I meet here are so nice. At the Library, I feel a good vibration from everyone. I really do love this place,â€ said Sujatha.