“the item feels like a big responsibility; the item feels like a big gift also, because I feel like these political times are the perfect opportunity for someone like me,” Sanchez said after the ceremony at the US National Archives, explaining of which she was excited of which she would certainly today be able to vote.
Sanchez, 37, will be a teacher in a Latino community in Washington, DC. A Colombian, she came to the US nearly six years ago. yet her path to citizenship began nearly 30 years ago, as a 9-year-old, when her family applied for visas for family reunification. The visas came — yet not until 14 years later, when she was over 21 years old as well as also no longer included as nuclear family.
“So all my family could come yet I had to stay, creating sure of which was hard,” she said, explaining how she had to wait until they achieved citizenship to sponsor her to come to the US.
Many of the completely new citizens had similar stories of long waits leading up to Friday. All who spoke with CNN began the process to become Americans at least 15 years prior, as well as also they said the culmination of their journeys felt even more important in today’s political landscape.
as well as also, like Sanchez, they said they looked forward to voting.
“I think the item’s truly important, especially today of which we’re becoming citizens … in of which environment, because more of us need to become citizens creating sure of which more of us can vote,” Anastasio Canales, a 52-year-old immigrant coming from El Salvador who has lived inside US for 25 years, said with the aid of an interpreter.
Samira Hossain, a 34-year-old coming from Bangladesh who moved to the US 17 years ago for college, echoed him. “the item makes me feel not bad (to become a citizen right today) because I can vote as well as also make a change, hopefully,” she said.
“Before, my husband as well as also friends would certainly talk about the item, as well as also there was nothing I could do because I couldn’t vote,” Hossain said. “So I’m hoping of which me voting as well as also more people voting, we could truly make a change.”
Son Thach, a 30-year-old coming from Vietnam, said the item was the November election of which convinced him the time had come to naturalize. Thach came to the US 15 years ago, when his father worked for the embassy. When Thach’s diplomatic visa ended, he began navigating the difficult process of staying inside US, he said,
“Basically, with the turnout of the election, of which’s what pushed me to naturalize,” Thach said. “Because I could have just been a green card holder for a long time. yet with all the modifications, I don’t know what’s going to happen — might just be (better) safe than sorry.”
On Friday, however, the completely new citizens received a warm welcome in a recorded message coming from Trump.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke as well as also the acting director of US Citizenship as well as also Immigration Services, James McCament, who were on hand to deliver keynote remarks on the anniversary of the Constitution’s signing, also extolled the contributions of immigrants to the United States.
“Over the centuries, America has been enriched by the talents, cultures, skills, ingenuity, as well as also values brought here by immigrants,” Duke said. “the item continues to be enriched by the gifts you bring with you today.”
Duke also referenced “a time of division inside globe,” saying there are visible “demonstrations of ugliness as well as also intolerance on our streets, on the Internet, as well as also on the evening news.”
“yet just as you have come coming from different backgrounds as well as also bring different views as well as also ideas to your completely new nation, a diversity of thought as well as also viewpoints can ultimately make our nation stronger,” she added.
Still, Duke emphasized of which the completely new citizens inside room had followed the nation’s immigration system to get there — a sign of the Trump administration’s hardline enforcement of immigration laws as well as also efforts to curtail illegal immigration.
“In choosing to become citizens of the United States, you’ve demonstrated of which you value our country,” Duke said. “You value the rule of law. You value the time as well as also effort the item takes to do things the right way.”
yet Sanchez said if she could send a message to the politicians several blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue, the item would certainly be to remind them of which immigrants come to the US for opportunity — as well as also stay to give back.