15,000 new American citizens were sworn in across the United States July 4, marking a America’s long tradition of welcoming naturalized citizens on Independence Day.
Cities across the country held more than 65 ceremonies to administer the oath to hundreds of immigrants who had long anticipated the opportunity to become Americans. In order to be sworn in, immigrants must have lived in the U.S. with a green card for at least five years, demonstrate a basic understanding of American government, be able to read, write, and speak English, and be a person of “good moral character.”
Phoenix, Ariz., welcomed more than 300 immigrants in an emotional ceremony marking the end of long periods of separation between families as members went through the legal immigration process, AZCentral reported.
“I spent a long time just waiting for the moment, and now it is reality,” Lot Ledezma told the paper. “I’ll now be walking through life feeling like I have the power to speak, the power to vote and choose my representatives – the power to be American.”
In Iowa, 29 immigrants were sworn in at the opening of a baseball game in a state tradition.
With IA State Capital backdrop, 29 people become American citizens, receiving a rousing round of applause. My favorite moment every season. pic.twitter.com/fU1U4LdB5A
— Andy Garman (@GarmanSports) July 3, 2017
At all of the ceremonies, immigrants raised their right hands and swore the oath, “I hereby declare that I…will support and defend the Constitution and…the United States of America against all enemies…so help me God.”
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