The swearing in of naturalized citizens is a celebration when it occurs on the Fourth of July. This year, 100 new citizens were sworn in on the lawn of Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic home in Virginia. The full diversity of America was in evidence that day, as were mixed feelings about the Trump Administration and its immigration policies.
"I want to cry. I feel like, wow, my dream has come true and I'm a real American now," one newly minted U.S. citizen, a 33-year-old software engineer from Iran, told the New York Times.
"I like the system here," he said when asked why he wanted to leave his native Iran to become an American citizen. "I like the rule of law. You know what to expect and what to not expect, so you can plan.
According to the Times, many of the visitors on hand at Mount Vernon had come to the celebration especially to celebrate new citizens who might feel unwelcome after the past few months.
The software engineer's native country Iran is one of those included in Trump's travel ban. Nevertheless, he has found most Americans to be welcoming to outsiders, especially considering the many vocal protests against the ban.
Others had a different view. Another new citizen, a pharmacist from Pakistan, said public sentiment against Muslims has made his life more difficult. He is also concerned that the health care proposal will leave his customers with healthcare they can't afford.
"I am in between," he told the Times. "I still love my country which I was born for, Pakistan, and I love the country of my future, America."
The naturalization ceremony welcomed 100 new citizens from 44 countries. To get this far, the new citizens have had to go through a long process including a lengthy application, fingerprinting, an English language proficiency test and an interview-style test of their knowledge of American civics, history and culture.
We recommend clicking through to the New York Times piece, which has more detailed information and a number of photos of the event.
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