PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nineteen people became naturalized citizens of the United States in a ceremony Tuesday morning at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the new citizens originate from 15 different countries: Cabo Verde, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, South Korea, and Spain.
Before they could take the Oath of Allegiance, each of the candidates had to pass an exam consisting of 100 questions as well as essay responses. For many, it was the culmination of months of work and years of dreams.
“I love the country. I love the people, the American people,” Guatemala native Candelaria Agera said. “I always said, ‘one day, I want to be a part of the American people.”
Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond presided over the ceremony, which is one of 316 being held nationwide between Sept. 13 and Sept. 23 as part of Constitution Week. USCIS says more than 34,000 people will be naturalized over that 10-day period.
Wednesday’s event was also a celebration of both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
The observance of Constitution Day began in 1940 as “I Am An American Day,” and it commemorates the day the Constitution was signed in 1787.
Citizenship Day was first held in 1952 and based on a law signed by President Harry Truman. Three years later, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the first Constitution Week.