Ironically, the parents are both investigative agents with the immigration service. Their purview includes baby-selling, fraud and coercion in foreign adoption cases as well as other illegal immigration scams.
"It's going to feel very strange to be on the other side. It's pretty exciting," said Roberta Renkiewicz, 44, the immigration service's deputy assistant commissioner for investigations, who has attended many citizenship ceremonies as an agent.
Today's ceremony follows a May event in which 2,000 immigrants were naturalized at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House. Smaller ceremonies are held almost every week.
The immigration service is working off a substantial backlog of cases that resulted in delays of sometimes more than a year in qualified applicants becoming citizens. Mrs. Chasse, who became district director in July, plans to speed up turnaround time to four months.
With immigration at record levels -- nearly 150,000 immigrants came to Maryland in the 1980s alone, census data show -- the government has been hard-pressed to keep up.
Naturalizations in Maryland have climbed steadily from 7,000 in 1990 to nearly 9,000 last year to about 11,000 this year, including today's ceremony. And applications for citizenship in Maryland are at a record high -- nearly 10,000 in the first half of this year alone.
Now the answers to that citizenship quiz. Maryland's two U.S. senators are Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski. The Constitution's basic principles are liberty, equality and justice. The red of the U.S. flag stands for courage, the white for truth and the blue for justice.