EVERGLADES NATL. PARK, Fla. (WSVN) — Fifty Kendall-area residents became U.S. citizens at a ceremony in Everglades National Park, Thursday, but the joyous occasion came with concern for some due to President Trump’s newly proposed immigration plans and policies.
It was a very special day for the residents who are now citizens of the United States of America. The group, who hail from 11 different countries, have waited years — in some cases even decades — for this day to finally come.
However, the ceremony comes during a very polarizing week in Washington, where President Trump has already signed executive orders dealing specifically with immigration, making some at the ceremony very worried for their families.
Now citizens of the United States of America, the group took their oath of allegiance in the Royal Palm Visitor Center at the National Park.
“I’m very happy,” said Patricia Robles who earned her citizenship at the ceremony. “I love this country, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of this.”
While she said the day she finally became an citizen of the U.S. is one of the best days of her life, she is worried for her son, who is still living in Mexico and working toward becoming a U.S. citizen, as well.
“Sometimes with the words that they say about this country, and about the women, and about the immigrants is why sometimes I worry,” she explained.
In Trump’s first week as President, he has already signed executive orders dealing with immigration and building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. “The unprecedented surge of illegal migrants from Central America is harming both Mexico and the United States,” said Trump during a conference, “and I believe the steps we will take, starting right now, will improve the safety in both of our countries.”
“I’m glad I was able to do it now,” said Daniella Cadenas from Peru, who is now a U.S. citizen, “and I was able to pass and able to get to where I am right now.”
“It’s been hard,” said the now-U.S. citizen Joanna Pimienta, who hails from Cuba. “I mean, for many years we’ve been waiting for this moment, and now it’s like a dream come true.”
While the day arrived for Pimienta, she still is unsure if her friends and relatives back home will be given the same opportunity.
“I have friends who are in the middle of this process, and they’re trying to get here, and right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”
While the naturalization ceremony is symbolic on its own, as it has come just one week after Trump was sworn in as President, the ceremony’s location is just as symbolic. The ceremony serves as a reminder that National Parks belong to all Americans.
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