Vietnamese immigrant in St. Albans shares his own American Dream - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Vietnamese immigrant in St. Albans shares his own American Dream

Posted: Updated:

John King is a nail technician at a beauty parlor in Saint Albans.

Even though he was born in Vietnam, John King is now an American.

"Basically I dedicated my whole life to being an American," said King, who moved to West Virginia with his family more than 15 years ago at the age of seven.

At 18, he became a naturalized citizen--filled out the N-400 forms detailing his personal information, submitted his fingerprints as part of an FBI federal background check, went through an interview, passed the English and civic tests, and took his oath of allegiance to the United States of America.

"Opportunity, is the word," said King, 22. "This is a land of dreams. You can do whatever you want."

19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings, followed the same steps to naturalized citizenship last September.

Tsarnaev will not be tried as an enemy combatant because U.S. Citizens cannot be tried in military commissions, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.

"Honestly, it makes me worried," King said. "Because you never know what's going to happen, even though they live in the same country as you."

King said he can't understand why anybody would hurt people he swore under oath to protect. But he said he does know the hardships that come with assimilating into a new culture.

"I would walk out in the street, and people would say go back where you come from," King said. "They say that because they don't know me."

For King, the good days far outnumber the bad. He said he hopes to open his own salon within the next few years.

"I really want to become a businessman and start my own shop."

That's because he said he has the freedom to dream American dreams. And he wouldn't risk that for anything.

In an oath of allegiance, applicants must pledge to support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

More than 90 percent of people who apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization are at least 18 years old and have been permanent residents for the past five years without leaving the country for trips lasting more than six months or longer.