AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – About 200 people are now able to call themselves Americans after a naturalization ceremony held at UMass Amherst. This moment has been years in the making and now they are finally able to make it official.

“It’s been almost 26 years living in this country and it feels good,” said Tanja Russin of Greenfield.

Russin is from the Netherlands. Officially a citizen, the thing she is looking forward to do the most as an American is vote. People from nearly 70 countries were represented, from Bhutan to Spain, but now their homes can be found between Pittsfield and Orange.

Muhammad Balaj came to the U.S. from Pakistan about eight years ago. He’s hoping citizenship will open the door to a new job, “I want to be a police officer, so let’s see, I hope.”

Congressman Jim McGovern delivered the keynote speech at the naturalization ceremony. Also speaking to America’s newest citizens was UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy who delivered tearful remarks as he spoke about his own experience coming from India.

When it was all said and done, families came together to take photos. For Ruddy Cortes from the Dominican Republic, Springfield has been his home for 20 years. A father, a homeowner and a business owner, he can now add American to that list.

“This is the best country in the world and I’m happy to be here. It’s a pleasure to be part of the United States,” said Cortes.

Many of the children at Tuesday’s ceremony automatically became U.S. citizens as well.