Omaha journalist’s mother celebrates becoming US citizen

July 5, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Vietnamese woman who lived apart from her daughter for 18 years is celebrating receiving her U.S. citizenship in Nebraska.

Tu Tran, 62, became a naturalized citizen last week, the Omaha World-Herald reported . She’s the mother of Chinh Doan, a reporter at KETV in Omaha who spoke at the naturalization ceremony.

“It was extra-amazing and sentimental,” Doan said. “I kept it together and didn’t cry so people could understand the message. My parents sacrificed so much for me.”

Tran’s daughter and second husband moved to the U.S. in 1994 through an agreement that allowed former prisoners of war to emigrate to the U.S. following the Vietnam War. But Tran had to stay behind because she didn’t have a death certificate for her first husband, a South Vietnamese soldier believed to have drowned at sea. That cast doubt on the legality of her second marriage, to an army officer who was imprisoned for nearly a decade and met Tu in 1985 after his release.

Tran’s family moved to Oklahoma City. Doan became a U.S. citizen and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. She worked with Oklahoma politicians to bring her mother to the U.S. in time for her college graduation. University of Oklahoma President David Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator, reached out to his son, then-Rep. Dan Boren.

Doan was only able to visit her mother six times during the nearly two-decade long separation. Doan’s seventh trip to Vietnam in 2012 was so she could accompany her mother, who’d never flown before, on an airplane to the U.S.

“The American dream exists,” Doan said, “and will continue to thrive if we all continue to believe in it.”

Doan and Tran now live together in Omaha.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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