SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - As we approach Independence Day, a special ceremony to bring new U.S. citizens into the fold was held at UC Santa Cruz Wednesday. Immigrants from 25 countries were represented and most of them came to the land of opportunity from Mexico - 54 to be exact.
"So help me God," and with that 95 new citizens took the oath to be new Americans. You could feel the excitement in the room, from individuals to families, they came to America and now swear to defend the constitution.
The ceremony was filled with dignitaries Wednesday, but the real stars of the show were the immigrants. Dost Mohammed and his family came from Afghanistan and now live in Marina. He works at the Defense Language institute teaching troops the Afghan language and says America is the land of opportunity.
"If I study, go to university, I have the opportunities. The government can provide me tuition and loan me money and finally I can study and achieve that goal," said Mohammed.
Rep. Sam Farr attended Wednesday's ceremony and says there's one thing he wants new citizens to do, "You think things are wrong, something needs fixing, be a voter. Be a participant and if you don't like what they're saying go run for office."
The new citizens received a video message from the Commander and Chief who told them with citizenship comes great responsibility. As a new citizen, Dost especially appreciates freedom of religion.
"That is so valuable to me, through that there is no limitations," he said.
Mohammed's daughter Shanamn said she is very proud of her father.
As new citizens, they were encouraged to vote and there was a table set up to register those who were interested.