A Naturalization Ceremony Makes Dreams Come True - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/31/06-Tyler

A Naturalization Ceremony Makes Dreams Come True

More than 40 people began a new life today, living as American citizens.   Judge Judith Guthrie swore in our newest citizens, that come from 11 different countries. There were tears of joy and lots of smiles as families watched and took pictures. For these folks getting their citizenship, it's an opportunity to become more involved.    

"It means a lot," said Mike Bell who was born in the UK. "It really does, as I said I can finally participate in what's going on. I can vote now."

"I really wanted to get involved and start voting here, so that my voice can be heard," said Maria Lino who was born in Mexico. One of those sitting in federal court today says it's been a life long dream of his to become an American citizen. After marrying an American, and starting a family he decided it was time.

Walter Perez walked into federal court this morning a citizen of Uruguay, and later walked out an American citizen.

"Just walking up the steps hearing the noise, it was just like I was in another journey, and I thought about many things that have happened," said Perez. To celebrate, Perez and his family went out to eat, Texas Style. 

"In his heart, he's been a citizen for a long time," said Crystal Perez, Walter Perez's wife. "He's a very patriotic person. He's loved America for years." Perez came to the US 15 years ago to attend Ambassador University in Big Sandy. He later got his masters degree at Texas A&M and is now the Assistant Principal at T.J. Austin Elementary School in Tyler.

"It was just this dream that I had growing up that one day coming to America to study," said Perez. "I think my teachers growing up spoke a lot about the principles and the ideals like opportunities, just knowing that you can become whatever you want to be." At work, Perez was welcomed with signs and balloons from students. It's his two children, Perez says he became an American citizen for.

"I think it will also teach my child to love his country more because he will be able to look back and say well my daddy was not born here, but by choice he became one of us." It's a choice, Perez says he is very proud of.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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