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Dozens become US citizens on Independence Day

Posted July 4, 2011

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— Twenty-six people had a special reason to celebrate Independence Day at the State Capitol on Monday.

They weren't there for the food, music and flag-waving but to finish their journey to become U.S. citizens.

"It's not easy, but it's worth it because all of America is hard work, and that's why we are here," Berenice Bickerstaff said.

Bickerstaff, a native of Brazil, married a U.S. citizen five years ago and decided that this would be her home. The application process was long and involved, but she said she had a strong desire to be part of this nation's story.

Citizenship oath Dozens become US citizens on Independence Day

"Many other nations would like to have what we have. We have security, liberty and just have the best way to happiness," she said.

Antonio Arreola, a native of Mexico, made his daughter proud when he took the oath of citizenship.

"I feel really excited for him," Anita Arreola said. "I wanted to cry."

The ceremony in Raleigh was part of the the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services' annual Independence Day celebration. More than 2,000 people nationwide have become citizens in the past week.

With citizenship certificates in hand, Bickerstaff and her fellow new citizens opened a new chapter in their lives Monday and were ready to exercise their new rights.

"I'm excited to be part of this and to vote," Bickerstaff said. "I'm ready to vote (and) really be part of the nation."

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  • bevknight23 Jul 5, 2011

    I am so proud of all of these people. They did things the right way!! Others need to follow their lead!! We have a procedure in place and it can work! Congrats to all of you!!

  • wa4dou Jul 5, 2011

    Once upon a time Australia welcomed emigrants with few restrictions and would assist passage or even pay your way. Eventually they required that those emigrating must have skills and be capable of being self sustaining. Think about it! No country can throw open the floodgates and assume financial liability for people. America is now learning the painful lesson that money and resources are finite. The "trough" is drying up.

  • Wendellcatlover Jul 5, 2011

    Congratulations and welcome to those who choose to do it the right way...the legal way.

  • littlebobeep Jul 5, 2011

    As proud as I am to have become a US citizen, the issue of illegals is not as simple as just saying throw them all out is it. These are, after all people. I am thankful that I have the skills to get a job that allowed me to come here 'the right way' but in their shoes, no job ,no money, no prospects I suspect that I'd be on of those 'illegals' too. some of these people are just kids, coming here alone. How desperate do you have to be to do that? and what about the children of illegals here. They are citizens. do you break up families or send them back to a country they have never seen? It's just not that simple and there are no easy answers. Maybe if the US stopped 'playing' at securing the border, things might start to change.

  • wa4dou Jul 5, 2011

    "I might not have been born here but I am PROUD to say that I am an American now."

    And most Americans are equally proud of you too! Welcome!

  • wa4dou Jul 5, 2011

    "Congratulations to all. You are welcome here and we look forward to your citizenship and contribution to this nation. This is the way to become part of this country. Not slipping over the border in the dead of night and hiding in the shadows hoping the foolish "Dream Act" passes one day. Illegals are nothing but a drain and sore on the US. Legal immigrants enrich us however. Do our elected leaders get the difference?"

    Well said! Bravo for them!

  • aetius476 Jul 5, 2011

    Congratulations to all. You are welcome here and we look forward to your citizenship and contribution to this nation. This is the way to become part of this country. Not slipping over the border in the dead of night and hiding in the shadows hoping the foolish "Dream Act" passes one day. Illegals are nothing but a drain and sore on the US. Legal immigrants enrich us however. Do our elected leaders get the difference?

  • Garnerwolf1 Jul 5, 2011

    Pay attention illegals,(and their supporters). This is the way to do it.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 5, 2011

    Congratulations to all of the people. I hope they have great success and much happiness. Hopefully they will not lose all of their liberties that we still have. Alas, some of our liberty has been stolen and the process of that theft continues.

  • Big Mike Jul 4, 2011

    I don't have a problem for those who do it the right way..but all those backdoor people gotta go and go far!

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