A number of local, young immigrants were all smiles Monday afternoon as they became American citizens.
Twenty children, whose ages range from 8 to 17, were granted their American citizenship from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), because their parents have recently become naturalized U.S. citizens.
"I'm really excited because I've waited for it for quite a while, but I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen," said Tatiana Salezneva (17), who immigrated here with her family from Russia 13 years ago.
While these children were born and immigrated from different countries, including: Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam, most have lived in America for the majority of their lives and feel as if they're already true citizens of the red, white, and blue.
"My family is all Russian, and we speak Russian in the home, but at school I feel like im not excluded. I am part of the community," said Salezneva.
These 20 children and young adults are joining 32,000 other candidates around the country who are receiving their citizenship this week as part of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The joint holiday is celebrated on September 17th each year in remembrance of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
"I like how people here are really open and accept you for who you are," said Salezneva. "I guess there's a lot more opportunity here; I can be who I want to be."