Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
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Service members granted citizenship at White House ceremony

As many Californians already know, President Obama welcomed 25 service members and their spouses to a White House ceremony where they were sworn in as citizens on July 4. Acknowledging that some of the new citizens joined the armed forces as a duty they welcomed before they were granted the privilege of citizenship, the President said America has always been a country of immigrants tied together by common beliefs. This, he said, is our heritage, and out of diversity comes strength.

All told, in that week 9,000 individuals were granted citizenship nationwide. Some new citizens shared their experiences along the way to becoming citizens. One woman, who immigrated from Egypt in 1981 and joined her husband here, built a life and a family in this country. On July 4, she described her emotions after becoming a citizen by saying she feels free and proud. While in this country on a visa, she had to abide by specific rules when she visited relatives in her native country. Now she was free of such limitations. Yet, she noted with children and grandchildren in the U.S., this is her home.

Another, a 37-year-old physician from India, said America's acceptance of immigrants is, for her, impressive. America, she said, grants citizenship to people from countries where the U.S. was once involved in conflict.

Citizenship may be a long journey for some. Paperwork, documentation and meeting specific requirements are all part of the process. However, the process is unique for each immigrant ranging from, as noted in the July 4 ceremonies, service members to civilians. Citizenship attorneys may assist an individual as they apply for citizenship by helping them fill out the paperwork. The attorney may also help avoid delays by reviewing applications for errors or omissions.

Source: USA Today, "On July 4th, the journey to U.S. citizenship becomes a dream come true", Oren Dorell, July 04, 2014

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