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PHOTOS: Here’s Some Of the Thousands of Immigrants Who Were Sworn In as U.S. Citizens During the July 4 Celebration

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DACA recipient Ellie Perez-Pawloski was among the approximately 11,000 immigrants sworn in as new American citizens during the week of the July 4 holiday. While the Arizona resident has lived in the United States for nearly her entire life, “things that many do every day now take on a new meaning for her,” Arizona’s Family reported.

“I’ve said the pledge and I’ve sang the national anthem so many years before without being a citizen, and today I got to do it as a citizen,” Perez-Pawloski told the outlet.

Over in Tucson, 25 immigrants were sworn in as U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the majestic Saguaro National Park. Before the ceremony began, mariachi singer Gisselle Paris Aubry performed the “Star-Spangled Banner,” reflecting the rich diversity of the borderlands. “Jesse Navarro, Tohono O’odham Legislative Council’s Baboquivari representative, reminded people that Saguaro National Park is part of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s ancestral lands, and welcomed the citizens to it,” the Tucson Sentinel reported.

“This is home. This is your home now. And so we welcome you,” Navarro said. “As citizens, you see the landscape, the landscape that we see here protects us as well.”

In Florida, 20 immigrants from 17 nations became U.S. citizens during a ceremony at the Hope Community Center in Apopka, News 6 reported. “This is the best. You will never forget this day,” said Maya Green, who is originally from Thailand. “I feel like America is a great country. You get to have a great opportunity.”

In Virginia, nearly 100 immigrants from 45 countries were sworn in at a ceremony at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond. “It’s to celebrate the achievements of these people, who have gone through a lot of hard work to become a US citizen,” said Sam Florer, the center’s manager of public programs. “It’s also to remind all Americans about the importance of citizenship.”

8News reports that Florer also took a moment to recognize the years-long, arduous workload immigrants undertake to become U.S. citizens, including the naturalization exam. 

“After they’ve reached that five-year mark, they need to start studying history and civics questions that they are asked at their naturalization test,” Flore said in the report. “There are 100 questions that they have to study and the official can ask any one of those 100 questions.” Some of you may have taken this test and know its difficulty. For others curious about how they’d fare, take a shortened version of the quiz below:

In Washington, 400 immigrants became naturalized at one of the largest ceremonies from the week. Among new Americans at the Seattle Center was Collins Ndukwe, who worked for years for this day.

“Seven whole years,” he told KING 5, “where you have to be a good citizen, don’t get arrested, don’t get a ticket, don’t get a driving ticket, a parking ticket, you have to be a citizen of good behavior which is highly discretional, so we’re glad that we were able to get through.”


This year’s July 4 naturalization numbers doubled the figures seen during last year’s Independence Day observance when 5,500 immigrants were sworn in as U.S. citizens. 

“Every July 4, we celebrate the day the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring the 13 American colonies a new nation: the United States of America. USCIS has a proud tradition of commemorating this momentous occasion by hosting special Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies across the globe,” USCIS said heading into July 4, 2024. “Through these ceremonies, USCIS will honor and recognize the commitment and contributions of our newest U.S. citizens.”

Perez-Pawloski said that while it’s a relief to her that she no longer has to worry about renewing her DACA protections every two years, “but it’s also a reminder of the so many people that are in limbo; so many people that are still waiting,” she said. She’s now determined to help other immigrants achieve this life-changing goal.

“As of Thursday’s ceremony, she’s registered to vote and plans to use her voice to help others who are in the position she was in years ago,” Arizona’s Family continued.

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