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Naturalization celebration, the ceremony of citizenship


March 26, immigrants became American citizens.

Photo by Laura Montelongo

Texas State welcomed 250 immigrants March 26 to take the oath to become American citizens during the annual Naturalization Celebration. Though they all faced different obstacles, they shared one dream: becoming a U.S. citizen.
The Hispanic Policy Network organized the annual Naturalization Celebration, which took place in the LBJ Ballroom. Hispanic Policy Network President Jesse Silva and committee chair Michelle Sotolongo worked together with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to bring this moment to life.
“Planning the event of the scale of 750 people was a phenomenal experience and being here and being part of the programming committee allowed for us to just have a wonderful celebration and ceremony for folks who are taking that oath of citizenship,” Silva said.
Silva is a son from an immigrant family that immigrated from Puerto de Sandoval, Mexico, in 1979 to the U.S.
“The largest number of newly citizens are all from Mexico,” Silva said. “We have people coming into the United States and taking these oaths to contribute to this great democracy.”
The LBJ Ballroom held immigrants from 59 different countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Canada, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Nepal, Panama, Poland, Romania, Russia, Vietnam and Mexico.
Jazmine Ramos, an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico, waited almost a year to take the oath. She plans on continuing her studies at Texas State and becoming a dental assistant.
“I’m grateful for this moment and I can’t wait to finish my studies,” Ramos said.
United States District Judge Mark Lane granted citizenship during the ceremony. After it was granted, the immigrants carry nearly the same rights as natural-born U.S. citizens, such as the right to vote.
As the grand finale of the ceremony, the new-made American citizens exercised their new rights and registered to vote at the voting tables outside of LBJ.
Maria Yewaa, 23, an immigrant from Cameroon, Africa, said becoming an American citizen is still sinking in.
“I’m not from the San Marcos area but being able to take my oath after a year is just exciting. I don’t even know what to feel,” Yewaa said.
The Hispanic Policy Network Familia provides a platform and a medium for people who are global citizens. HPN is open to Texas State faculty and staff as well as students.
HPN continues planning more events for the Hispanic community. The next event is the HPN Symposium 25 Year Celebration on April 12.

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