VANCOUVER, Wash. — For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site hosted an in-person naturalization ceremony Thursday for 40 U.S. Citizens who had just been sworn in.
The new citizens came from more than 20 different countries including El Salvador, Taiwan, Iran and Honduras. Mia Mcmanuis moved to Vancouver from Russia seven years ago.
"It's very exciting," Mcmanuis said. "Finally because all of my family are U.S. citizens and now I'm part of that."
The process to become a citizen isn't easy. It takes a lot of resilience, and the journey is long.
"They have to take tests to test their English language, their knowledge of civics and the history of the United States," said Quinn Andrus with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who works with people in the process of becoming citizens. "They have to demonstrate they know our laws and customs."
Another new citizen at the ceremony, Lourdes Molina, came to the U.S. from Guatemala almost a decade ago. She said now she feels safe.
"Having no fear of walking around, or having my green card at hand, and having the fear of being deported just because I didn't have my green card on hand," Molina said.
Molina said even through the process was long, it was well worth the wait.
"It gives me a lot of opportunities and a lot of peace of mind in general," she said.