Tony Gunawan is not a celebrity in California, where he resides, but in his native Indonesia, he is a household name. The man is a two-time world champion and Olympic champion in badminton, a sport with a rabid following in East Asia. Now Gunawan is an American, having successfully completed the citizenship and naturalization process and he hopes to represent the United States in the London Olympics.
The badminton player took the pledge of allegiance at a Los Angeles courthouse earlier this month. Gunawan expressed delight and pride after attaining citizenship and now looks forward to hitting a few more smashes in the badminton competition at the Pan-American Games. Apparently, other countries were in the running to lure Gunawan to their shores, but he brought his shuttlecocks to the United States. Thus, badminton has made a huge gain in the United States by way of the immigration process. Likewise, California’s sports roster has been made richer by the addition of a world and Olympic champion.
Gunawan’s road to citizenship and naturalization was aided by the sponsorship of a millionaire owner of a printing press and former president of USA Badminton. The sponsor, considered a benevolent godfather to American badminton, is himself a 70-year-old immigrant from Thailand. For Gunawan, as a world-class athlete who had this man as a sponsor, attaining citizenship was relatively easy. This is far from the reality for all aspirants to US citizenship.
For those who are not as fortunate as the badminton player, an immigration lawyer can be of great assistance. Many individuals in California frequently find themselves on the wrong side of immigration law. Attorneys experienced in the fine details of immigration law can sometimes solve a problem with a simple technical procedure, such as an adjustment of status. These same attorneys often assist their clients with multi-phase applications, such as obtaining green cards to achieve a lawful permanent resident status or using any one of a number of available options codified in the law.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Tony Gunawan clears first hurdle to reaching London Olympics,” Kevin Baxter, Sept. 9, 2011