Over the course of two ceremonies today in a U.S. district court, more than 80 people became United States citizens.
They came from Mexico, India, Cambodia, Nigeria, Japan, Canada, and many other countries. But they all came for one very important reason.
"This will be the last step in your long journey to become a citizen of this great country," Judge Judith K. Guthrie told them during the ceremony.
They took an oath together, renouncing the citizenship they used to hold.
"That you will support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," Judge Guthrie told them. "That you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same."
And together, they became United States citizens.
"Do you?" Judge Guthrie asked.
"I do," they said.
"Congratulations," she said, as the room broke out in applause.
"They came to this country with a hope of being able to enjoy all the benefits of being an American, but you can't enjoy the full benefits of being an American without at some point becoming a citizen," Judge Guthrie said.
Marcila Hurtado came to America from Mexico five years ago.
"I came for more opportunity for my family," she said.
It's a day Artemio Briones says he has been waiting for nearly half his life; a day he thought would never come.
"Being part of this country, help this country, working, whatever I can do," he said. "Right now, I'm coaching a soccer team, which is what I like very much, and I'm enjoying them. And I want to be able to coach them as long as I can."
Twelve countries were represented in Thursday morning's ceremony and nine countries were represented in Thursday afternoon's ceremony.
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