COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - This morning the first naturalization ceremony was held at the Air Force Academy.
The citizenship candidates originate from 22 different counties.
News Channel 13's Cinthia Maldonado joins us with a recap of today's ceremony.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized 35 new citizens in recognition of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Some say today was a culmination of many years of hard work and patience.
The U.S. is a nation of immigrants—that was the message to 35 citizenship candidates.
Diana Esquivel left Costa Rica 16 years ago. Knowing the U.S. had become aa big part of her life
she decided to become a U.S. citizen, “Eight months? Eight-nine months ago I first applied in November of last year.
Diana explains today’s ceremony feels like a new start, "Now, I belong somewhere. Now, I am part of where I live."
They’re all representing different countries across the world.
"I’m from Mali."
"[I’m from] China."
"I’m from Sudan."
And agree they couldn't have achieved their goals if they'd had stayed in the native country.
"America is the best country, a great country," with much excitement says Issa Kone. He’s from Mali and arrived to U.S. territory 16 years ago.
To Wafaa Awad – the ceremony was extra special! It took her seven years to finalize her citizenship process.
"There [were] a lot of challenges before when I came here and now I am so happy to be here and become a citizen," says Awad.
From September 17th through the 23rd the U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services will welcome more than 30,000 new citizens at more than 200 naturalization ceremonies during "Constitution Week.