Immigrants Now Have New Title: Americans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Immigrants Now Have New Title: Americans

"This is a day of celebration, not only for you, your family, friends, but for the entire country," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Walker.

The patriotic celebration welcomed 34 people who represent 16 nations. They left their homeland and even their families, and came to America with a dream for a better life.

"The American dream is not a myth. The American dream is a reality," Judge Walker said.

Jose Quirarte is a native of Mexico. He applied for U.S. citizenship ten years ago. During that time, the Seabee has served this country in numerous tours, including Kosovo and Iraq.

"I will support and defend the constitutions and the laws of the United States of America," the group recited.

Standing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Walker, and U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden, Quirarte took the oath of allegiance, and became one of the newest Americans.

"It's an exciting moment. It's very exciting," said Jose Quirarte. "I can't explain it. It's great to be a U.S. citizen. I'm looking forward to being able to vote now."

"Congratulations, you are now citizens of the United States of America," Judge Walker said. "I get emotional when I say that. Congratulations." 

It was also an emotional moment for Elena Cummings. The 71-year-old native of Argentina proves you're never too old to become a U.S. citizen.

"Emotion, emotion, happiness," said Elena Cummings. "I wish I had done this before, a long time ago."

"Enjoy your country. Protect and defend your country. This is truly a country of limitless opportunities," Judge Walker said.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden also spoke at the ceremony. His father was an immigrant from Turkey. And Retired Circuit Judge Kosta Vlahos shared memories of his father, who came from a village in Greece.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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