AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of new American citizens were welcomed in Amherst Tuesday as part of a Naturalization Oath Ceremony.
It was an exciting day for 29 individuals from a range of different countries who can now officially call themselves U.S. citizens. New Americans, taking the naturalization oath, in an official swearing-in ceremony held at the Jones Library in Amherst. The 29 citizenship candidates come from 22 different countries. For some, it was a nearly two-year process to get to this point.
The road to citizenship includes a 10-page application, fees, an FBI background check and interview with the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services Office.
“It’s not something to take lightly, because it takes a lot of hard work to actually get there. Once they are citizens, it changes their lives,” said Lynne Wientraub, an ESL/Citizenship Coordinator of Jones Library.
22News spoke to a few of the new citizens about how they’re feeling and what they want to accomplish here in the U.S.
Vincenzo Martino from Italy said, “Fantastic! I’m very happy to be an American citizen. I got my son here, he’s my heart.”
“I plan to vote, I plan to use my voice, I plan to get involved,” said Grace Asare from Ghana. Asare has already put that voice to use in leading the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. She hopes to inspire others to take the leap and journey toward U.S. citizenship, “I would like to talk to the people who are trying to get to where I am today, that it’s absolutely possible.”
On average, it takes 18 to 24 months to complete the five-step naturalization process and become a U.S. citizen.