Newly Naturalized Citizens Proud To Call America Home

Friday, September 16th 2016, 8:06 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Nearly 70 new Americans were welcomed Friday night.

Even though the people naturalized come from all over the world - places like India, Mexico and Taiwan - many have already been a part of our community for years.

When you ask Adriana Maldonado where she's from, she says Chihuahua, Mexico - but that's not where she calls home.

"I am so very passionate about this because, this is my home, this is all I know," she said.

The 21-year-old lives in Sapulpa and came here as a baby. 

Maldonado said, "I felt like I was from here, but, I mean, on paper I wasn't."

But now she has the paper.

Maldonado was one of 67 new United States citizens who proudly paused Friday for the National Anthem.

Many don't need words to express their new-found pride.

And while family and friends document the special moments, Mailee Yang doesn't need a picture to remember her journey to America from Laos.

"The thing that stuck in my mind was when we were crossing the Mekong River and my father, he had tied bamboo under our arms to keep us floating," Yang said.

Her family eventually made it to Thailand, where she remembers her dad being determined to get the family to America.

The then 5-year-old Yang had one question for him.

"I asked him, I said, 'Does America have candies?' and he said 'yes, there's tons of candies, you can eat all the candies you want,'" Yang said.

But as an adult, she and many others are looking forward to something else - the right to vote.

"It's really nice to finally be able to say, ‘I'm an American,’ and I get to have a say about a lot that happens here," Maldonado said.

The next naturalization ceremony for the Northern District will be October 12th, which is two days before the deadline to register to vote in the general election in November.