31 Become U.S. Citizens In Naturalization Ceremony


Wednesday, September 13th 2017, 6:49 pm
By: Amy Slanchik


The clock is ticking for Congress to come up with new legislation for undocumented immigrants living in the United States now that President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

More than 30 immigrants became citizens Wednesday. Many of them have called Green Country home for years, but now, it's official. 

It's a day full of smiles, pictures and American pride.  

"It's been hard, but, we made it! Finally," said Sindhuri Repaka. 

Thirty-one people from all over the world - places including Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Belgium - took the Oath of Allegiance, led by U.S. District Judge John Dowdell, who shared his own immigration story.

"Let me tell you a short story, passed down by my family's path to America," Dowdell said. 

Each path is different.

"I'm very happy that I finally became a U.S. Citizen," said new U.S. citizen Brenda Hernandez. 

Hernandez has called the United States "home" since she was 3-years-old when her parents brought her here from Mexico.

Amy: What does it mean to be an American? 

Hernandez: "It means everything. This is a great land. This is the best I could ever have."

She lived in Phoenix for a while, and this month marks 10 years in Tulsa. 

While her children were born here, Hernandez says she encourages friends who are DACA recipients to stay positive while Congress tackles the issue of immigration. 

"Just to keep fighting and to keep their hopes up to believe that something's going come up and nothing's gonna happen wrong," she said. 

"That's one of the things that actually pushed me a little bit to get [this] done. Because I know that laws change," said Reynaldo Ruiz, a new U.S. citizen. 

Ruiz came to Tulsa from Nicaragua. 

Now a U.S. citizen, he can't stop smiling. 

"It's an honor. It's an honor, and peace of mind actually, for my family, for all of them gathered together here," Ruiz said. 

There's another naturalization ceremony coming up in Tulsa on October 11th.