Illinois Ceremony Creates 39 US Citizens

Thirty-nine people became US citizens last week in a naturalization ceremony in Peoria, Illinois, according to the Peoria Journal Star.

After the ceremony in the US District Court House, the new citizens, who hailed from 16 different countries, were able to register to vote with the help of the League of Women Voters. The newspaper said the organization also provided information to those individuals who needed to obtain a Social Security card.

The paper said many of the people who were naturalized have lived in the US for years before applying for citizenship. Asit Rath, an Indian immigrant who said he originally came to the country for college, told the source he lived in the US for more than ten years before taking steps to become an official citizen.

Rath added that he believed American people are generally more open-minded and welcoming that many other nations.

“You can do whatever you want, without interference. You can live your own life. That is amazing,” he said.

According to a study published in February by the Pew Hispanic Center, there were 11.2 million illegal immigrants living in the US in 2010. The study said the number is virtually unchanged from the previous year.