A naturalization ceremony in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 29 saw nearly 1,000 people from 87 different countries sworn in as U.S. citizens. According to Austin CBS affiliate KEYE, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel presided over the hour-long ceremony.
One of those to gain U.S. citizenship was Aracely Garcia-Granados, executive director of the nonprofit Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together. The source reported that she was born in Guatemala and has been living in the U.S. for eight years.
Felipe Cruz was also another individual who became a U.S. citizen during the ceremony in Austin. According to Time Warner Cable News, Cruz moved to the U.S. from Brazil in 2000. Cruz said it took him 14 years to become a citizen.
Others who were naturalized in Austin on Sept. 29 told Time Warner Cable News how happy they were to be American citizens. Many of them have spent years in the U.S. and have wanted to become citizens since their arrival.
“I’m happy to be American citizen and to see all the people and it’s a good day for my life,” Martha Ngon, who moved from South Sudan to Austin four years ago, told the source.
Austin is a diverse city where many immigrants who come to the U.S. choose to live. According to KEYE, 24 percent of startup companies in the city are founded by people who were born outside of the U.S. In addition, there are more than 70 languages spoken in Travis County, where Austin is located.
Those who participated in the ceremony were given certificates honoring their U.S. citizenship, and local residents were given an application to become voters. According to KEYE , many of the people who were naturalized during the ceremony became citizens in September so they could vote in the upcoming November elections.