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Thousands become citizens during July 4 week

Georgia residents may be interested to learn that more than 9,000 people across the country celebrated Independence Day this year by becoming United States citizens during the first week of July. Many of the ceremonies occurred at places of historical significance, such as Pearl Harbor, the White House, Mt. Rushmore and the U.S.S. Midway. One hundred and two individuals fittingly became citizens on July 4 at George Washington's estate in Mt. Vernon. The ceremony took just 45 minutes but marked the end of lengthy journeys for many people.

One 52-year-old woman fled to the United States after her family was targeted by terrorists during the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Five years ago, she received refugee status after spending three years in a Syrian refugee camp. She said that refugee status was difficult because it carried the fear of being asked to leave. She now has the security that comes with U.S. citizenship.

Another new citizen reported that obtaining citizenship after 33 years living in the United States was a freeing experience. The woman previously was prohibited from visa restrictions from going to visit her relatives in Egypt for more than six months at a time. She can now enjoy longer trips, but America is her home. The woman stated that she is proud to be an American citizen. Other naturalized citizens attending the ceremonies were natives of Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, Sierra Leon, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Becoming a U.S. citizen is a very powerful moment for both the naturalized individual and family members. An immigration attorney may be able to help permanent residents experience that moment by explaining the process, completing and filing the paperwork, appearing before immigration officials and helping to resolve any issues that might arise.

Source: USA Today, "On July 4th, the journey to U.S. citizenship becomes a dream come true", Oren Dorell, July 04, 2014

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