Citizenship fulfills a dream
It took decades, but most members of a Filipino family will become Americans
Charlie Dumot's father, Rosalino Dasalla, earned his U.S. citizenship fighting alongside American troops in the Philippines.
It was her father's dream, Dumot said, for her to come to the United States and become a citizen.
Where new citizens are from
In 2006, 7,501 people immigrated to Hawaii from other countries and obtained permanent residence status. Below are the countries of origin for most of Hawaii's legal immigrants.
» Philippines: 3,723
» China: 815
» Japan: 742
» Korea: 361
» Vietnam: 220
» Canada: 147
» Thailand: 124
Also in 2006, the last year complete statistics were available, 5,276 Hawaii residents became naturalized U.S. citizens. Below are where most of Hawaii's naturalized citizens came from.
» Philippines: 2,140
» Korea: 502
» China: 408
» Japan: 250
» Vietnam: 195
» Mexico: 178
» American Samoa: 120
Wednesday morning, Dumot, her husband Johny and their 15-year-old son Dennis, will take the oath of citizenship and fulfill her father's dream.
But Dasalla will not be there to see it, nor did he get the chance to fulfill his own dream of living in the United States.
Dasalla died in December 1994, only a few months before Dumot and her son Dennis immigrated to Hawaii, she said.
About 200 people from more than 34 countries will be sworn in as U.S. citizens at Wednesday's ceremony. The majority, like the Dumot family, are from the Philippines, the fastest growing immigrant group to Hawaii.
For Dumot, the long journey from Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur started when her husband's parents came to Hawaii in 1982.
Five years later, Bruno and Florentina Dumot became citizens and petitioned to bring three of their four sons -- Johny, Fernando and Brigido to the United States.
Charlie and Johny were sweethearts when he left the Philippines in 1989. They continued a long-distance courtship and saw each other when he would return to visit. The couple married in 1991.
Charlie and their young son Dennis were able to join Johny in Hawaii in 1995.
Johny's oldest brother, Reynaldo, was married with children when their parents became U.S. citizens, so he wasn't able to come to Hawaii initially. It took nearly 20 years, but the family was mostly reunited three years ago when Reynaldo immigrated to Hawaii with his wife and three of their four children. Reynaldo's oldest son was over 18 and had to remain in the Philippines.
In 2006, 7,501 people immigrated to Hawaii as legal permanent residents; more than half, 3,723, were from the Philippines.
Like the Dumot family, most people who apply to immigrate legally are relatives of U.S. citizens. In Hawaii, 5,276 residents became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2006, the last year complete statistics were available. Of those, 2,140 were born in the Philippines.
Johny's brothers Fernando and Brigido have already become U.S. citizens.
Charlie Dumot said her children pushed her and her husband to become citizens. "They say, 'Oh mom, dad, you need to get citizenship already,'" Dumot said.
The couple applied for citizenship in 2006 and after waiting months for the paperwork to be processed, they finally took the citizenship exam and interviews and passed.
Johnny Dumot is a cook at Zippy's Restaurant and Charlie is finishing the paperwork to operate a care home at their house in Kailua.
Their daughter Debilyn was born in the United States so she is already a citizen. Son Dennis, who was born in the Philippines, will become a citizen when his parents are sworn in.
One of the reasons she is becoming a citizen, Dumot said, is so her son won't have to prove his work status. It is a chance for him to get a better life and better jobs, she said.