Twenty-one immigrants from 17 countries were sworn in as new American citizens, on a steamy Independence Day morning, at an emotional naturalization ceremony in Jersey City.
Among the 21 was Maria Eskandar, who escaped the upheaval in Egypt four years ago. “I love it here because my children will get a good education, have good health,” said the mother of two young girls. “A lot of things are good here for my family. I feel lucky.”
Christina Correa and her family celebrated with flags and red, white and blue streamers. “I’m expecting great things,” she said. “I want to thank God and I feel happy to be here. I look forward to voting for my candidate. I won’t say who, but she’s female.” Another new citizen, Jose Torres Sandoval, said this is first step in a long road to reunite with his family from El Salvador, where violence and corruption are endemic.
“Certainly, the political rhetoric today has created a new, unfortunate perspective on immigrants,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. He noted, “You have the families here of these people who couldn’t be more excited to take the oath as a U.S. citizen today, which I think anybody who lives in this country should feel great about.”
Sen. Cory Booker gave an emotional speech, in which he observed, “We are a country that has become great over the years because of the influx of immigrants and to turn our backs on the truth of who we are is only to weaken us.”
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