Young immigrants from around the world took the oath to become the country’s newest Americans in a naturalization ceremony in San Diego Friday.
About 100 youth from 25 different countries — the youngest only 1 year old — took the Oath of Allegiance at Liberty Station’s New Americans Museum and with that, became naturalized citizens of the United States.
Parents proudly looked on from the back of museum as a representative from the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USICS) presented their children with citizenship certificates.
“When you look at the parents, they are so emotional; they are so touched by this,” Linda Sotelo, the museum’s Executive Director said. “They are thinking, 'All the sacrifices (I) made to come to a new country and build a new life, it’s going to resonate and it’s going to be manifested in my kids.'”
Friday’s ceremony was held for children who obtained their citizenship through their parents, according to USICS spokesperson Maria Elena Upson. Some were adopted and others obtained citizenship when their immigrant parents became naturalized citizens.
“I feel proud that I am finally able to live in this country as a citizen and be able to fulfill what my parents wanted me to do when I came here,” said new American Nathan Buturla, who was originally from Canada. “It’s just been a good day.”
The ceremony is the first step in a world of possibilities for the new Americans.
“It’s connected to the next step in democracy for them,” Sotelo said. “It’s a serious moment but they are going to look back at this and think what a special thing it was.”