Oklahoma says hello to newest US citizens

The path to US citizenship varied for the 90 foreigners – hailing from 29 different countries – who were naturalized. All have one story in common, however, as they were proudly sworn in during a June 24 ceremony at an Oklahoma City courthouse, the Oklahoman reports.

One of those new citizens was Ernesto Rosas. Born in Mexico, he came to the US in 1984 when he was 14 years old, sneaking across the border illegally with his family. He has been attempting to gain legal citizenship since 1987. First, he worked to get his wife legal status. When this was accomplished, he was able to obtain a green card. Since then, Rosas, an owner of a landscaping business, has been working to demonstrate that he would make a good citizen.

“It’s worth everything I’ve been through and worth every penny,” Rosas told the publication.

Another new citizen at the ceremony was Chiawalam, a former resident of Nigeria who goes by one name. He benefited from the US lottery system that provides immigrant visas to residents from countries with low immigration rates for family-sponsored and employment programs. Chiawalam, 35, got a green card through the lottery, began attending Platt College and had to wait five years to earn his citizenship.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, 619,913 new citizens were naturalized in 2010, including more than 60,000 from both Mexico and India.