On this Independence Day, more than 8,000 people nationwide became naturalized U-S citizens. In Northampton, Massachusetts, the ceremony has become something of a tradition.
50 people from more than 20 nations took the citizenship oath in the packed Hampshire Superior Courtroom. For many, this is the final step of a long journey. Ahmed Al-Nasiri is an Iraqi refugee who hopes he can now, with citizenship, get his family out that country.
“Now it’s so bad in Iraq and getting worse,” Al-Nasiri says. ” (It’s) not (a) secured country unfortunately and I hope I can help my family with that.”
Al-Nasiri works at a social service agency assisting other refugees –while going to medical school. Gabriel Perez Gonzalez, originally from the Dominican Republic, is another new citizen. He says taking the oath is an emotional experience.
“I don’t have a word to explain how that is for me,” Gonzalez says. “It’s like….have a new life.”
The annual courthouse celebration is organized by the Center for New Americans.