58 New Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/12/04 - Tyler

58 New Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens

It's been a long journey for many of the immigrants in Judge Judith Guthrie's courtroom. And today is the first day of a new part of their lives.

"It's the only time in court that everybody is happy to be here," Judge Guthrie said.

Fifty-eight men and women from 15 different countries, from as far away as Ghana and Iran and as close as Mexico and Canada.

"Once you take your oath of allegiance, your official and your public loyalty will be to the United States and to none other," Judge Guthrie said.

"Coming to America, it's just always been a dream for me," Mafe Adarne Wozniak, from the Philippines, said.

"I'm a physical therapist," Winston Jacob, from India, said. "I came here for... This is a land of opportunity, better opportunity."

Winston came to the United States from India more than 13 years ago. He and his wife are both Christians, seeking a land of democracy like their home country.

Mafe came to America from the Philippines 10 years ago and met her husband in Palestine, where they both work as nurses.

"Really, I have to keep my feet still because I was just trembling," Mafe said. "I'm so proud right now I am finally an American citizen. I love being a Filipino. And I'm still a Filipino. But I am an American citizen. And I'm so proud of it because this country has done so much for me and for my family. And I'm so grateful."

A long journey to arrive here today and now the beginning of a new journey in a new place to call home.

In order to become an American citizen, immigrants have to demonstrate good moral character, uphold the U.S. constitution, know basic English, and know about the U.S. government and its laws.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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