Over 200 Take Oath To Become American Citizens - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Over 200 Take Oath To Become American Citizens

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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EAST MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - As the push to reform immigration continues across the country, more than 200 Mid-Southerners took the oath to become legal American citizens.

On the even of Independence Day, a naturalization ceremony was held Thursday morning at the Benjamin Hooks Public Library.

By definition, an American citizen is one who is a legal resident and has the right to live in this country. Just the process it takes to become a citizen is one many immigrants will never take for granted.

"It's the best country, the best nation in the whole world," said David Salih, a new American citizen from Iraq. "It's my dream, it's my dream to hold this flag."

It's an American symbol for many seeking a better life.

"Economic prosperity, they come here to escape poverty, they come here to pursue religious freedom and they come here to escape war," said Wang-Ying Glasgow, a new American citizen from China.

MORE: View and Take the Naturalist Self-Test
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For those who either are going to school or marrying an American the process of citizenship is often easier. Once immigrants receive a Green Card, it may still be more than five years or longer before they're allowed to become a legal resident.

"To get a U.S. citizenship, probably about 15 years," said Meng Tong Shao, Ca new American citizen from China.

"I've been a resident for a pretty long time now, since I was like 10," said Yesis Reyes, a new American citizen from El Salvador. "Now that I'm 20, it's like 10 years, you know? It took me a while to get this accomplishment done. So I'm really happy."

More than 200 immigrants from nearly 70 countries went through a long, tedious, paperwork-filled process which takes time to determine who will become a citizen. It's why July 3 is such an honor.

"I wanted to be part of the family, so I just wanted to be in the family," said Thertuleine Nana, an American citizen from Cameroon. "I've been here for so long. I have been home since I came here so I already feel like
I'm a U.S. citizen."

But it's the process for many immigrants is so daunting and time consuming. Many are afraid to even begin the process.

"Am I going to be over there 20 years or what?," Reyes said. "They're just afraid to lose everything that they probably have already. Here they're afraid because they may send them back to their country."

Yet on this day, immigrants have taken the chance and time to follow their dream and become legal citizens of America.

"Don't take it for granted, your American citizenship," Glasgow said. "It is something that many people all over the world work very hard to get to this."

This year immigration services across the country welcomed 9,000 new U.S. citizens during more than 100 naturalization ceremonies between June 30-July 4.

 
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