GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The United States now has 13 new citizens, and with the federal shutdown over border security debate looming, those among the newest calling the United States home are just happy that they did it the right way.
For those at this naturalization ceremony, immigration is about patriotism, not politics.
“I love this country. I just want to be part of this country,” said Swasti Safaya from India. “I have been here for last 18 years, and I just like the country. I just want to stay here and just work for this country, and I’m just so proud to be a U.S. citizen now.”
Safaya is a biology teacher in the Jackson School District, and the process to become a citizen was long.
“At this point, I’m so excited I’m finally there,” she said. “I got it.”
Thursday’s ceremony had 13 applicants representing 11 countries.
“By making this step today, you have cemented a legacy, your legacy,” U.S. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo told the group.
He himself is a child of an immigrant.
“I know my father would be proud of the applicants, the new U.S. citizens, because he saw first-hand what this country offered to him,” he said. “I saw it, and you could see it in each one of the newest citizens’ eyes. They’re proud; they’re happy. So, it was very important for me to share with them not only what they’ve done for themselves, but what they’re doing for their future generations.”
Ana Gomez didn’t want to talk about walls to keep people out. She did want to talk about a way in and what it can do for people like her.
“This is one of the biggest things for me in my life,” she said, "and I’m very happy and I’m very thankful for this country that gives a lot of opportunities for me and my family and for other people that need a better life too.
“I am happy and I’m proud of myself because I tried to do the things the right way.”