Thousands of people across the nation celebrated their new citizenship on the United States’ birthday, July 4, this year. In Seattle, Over five hundred people acquired legal U.S. citizenship on the Fourth of July, according to The Associated Press. The individuals were awarded their citizenship during the annual citizenship ceremony by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
According to The Seattle Times, the people smiled as they said the pledge of allegiance for the first time as a United States citizen in what Washington Senator Maria Cantwell referred to as “the most diverse city in the United States.” The ceremony took place in the Seattle Center Fisher Pavillion, where some individuals gave their account of what their lives were like in their home countries and the positive impact that the United States has made on their lives.
Anwar Ahmed, 32, left Ethiopia to escape war and live a more peaceful and fulfilling life. According to The Seattle Times, Ahmed waited 13 years for his U.S. citizenship to be approved, which he said was an exciting moment in his life. One of the reasons Ahmed said he is happy to be a United States citizen is that he will now be able to vote “like an American.”
Like Ahmed, many people must wait several years until they are considered for U.S. citizenship. One Seattle resident that has been making the headlines this year for his newly acquired citizenship is Osvaldo Alonso, one of the star players on Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders. According to the source, Alonso, a former Cuban immigrant, waited five years until he was granted citizenship.
Despite the long wait, Alonso said the process was worth it.
“I’m very happy for that and so proud of myself,” he said.