LOS ANGELES – Some 7,000 new U.S. citizens received a warm welcome as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services held a daylong series of naturalization ceremonies in Los Angeles.
“I love to be an American because when I came here all my dreams were fulfilled to help my poor relatives,” said Leonela Po, a new U.S. citizen.
Over 800 of the new citizens were from the Philippines — the second largest group of the day behind Mexico. Many of them were eager to begin life as full-fledged Americans with all the benefits that come with citizenship.
“You know, Filipinos yearn to become American citizens,” said Reynaldo Galant, another new U.S. citizen. “There’s a lot of benefits to receive, especially if you live here.”
Swearing in 7,000 new citizens also means there are 7,000 new potential voters, many of whom immediately registered to vote in this year’s U.S. presidential election after they were sworn in.
“I have to exercise my rights as a citizen,” said Po.
Some of these new Americans plan on taking back their Philippine citizenship by applying for dual citizenship for their Philippine properties and future retirement benefits.