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'I'm a free person now': Dozens become US citizens in July 4th ceremony

Posted July 4

— The population of the United States grew just a little bit on Tuesday afternoon in downtown Raleigh as many celebrated the Fourth of July by becoming American citizens.

For so many, being an American is as easy as rolling out of bed.

‘It’s an everyday thing for me. I just wake up and I’m an American,” said Mo Sowe.

But for two dozen people, being an American meant a whole lot of effort. A Tuesday ceremony completed their path to United States citizenship.

“My parents brought me here. We immigrated back in the early 90s,” said Sergio Chavez.

âIâm a free person nowâ: Dozens become US citizens in July 4th ceremony

It is a long and often difficult process to citizenship, but for people like Chavez, of Mexico, it was well worth the journey.

“There’s just something about being an American,” he said.

The new Americans came from around the world, representing 19 different countries. Their reasons for becoming citizens were as varied as the countries they came from.

“I came here for professional reasons, then I met my wife and I stayed. It was somewhat of an accident,” said Thomas Hofweber of Germany.

“It means I’m a free person now. I can talk, I can walk, I can go anywhere,” said Natallia Shtukar from Belarus. “I’m in America for 13 years. Now it’s my home.”

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