JACKSON, Miss. – Just two days after Independence day the U.S. District Court welcomes a group of new United States citizens.
“I always dreamed of one day seeing the Mississippi river, and my dream comes true now,” Margarita Huerta a new citizen from Mexico said.
The ‘American Dream’ is now within reach for a group of 34 new citizens.
“It’s just a process, you’ve got to go through the process,” David Austin naturalized from Trinidad and Tobago explained. “I’ve done that and you know today is just the end result of that.”
“It’s been a very, very long ride…it’s a long and arduous journey for most people looking to get out,” Prafulla Thakur from India said.
The group makes up people from 17 different countries, that now call Mississippi home.
“Once they get their certificates and become naturalized, they’re fine,” Gwendolyn Reed with Homeland Security said. “They’re okay and they’re excited and they forget all about the wait.”
The Department of Homeland Security says the process typically takes between 9 months to one year, but for David Austin came it’s been more than 20 years since he came here on a Belhaven University soccer scholarship.
“I just happened to fall in love with the city you know with the city and with the state,” Austin said.
The group went before a judge and took an oath of citizenship, some even changed their names to mark this their new beginning.
“I heard that there was a lot of economic opportunity, it was better for everyone and I learned that I’ve been living here I may as well make it a permanent thing,” Thakur said.