Over 1,500 people become citizens in naturalization ceremony

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — More than 1,500 people became "American citizens" Wednesday in a ceremony at Golden Hall.

It is a day many of the people gathered here have waited for decades, and to share it with family members and loved ones makes it even more special.

The waves back and forth from the floor to the balcony were constant. It’s not unusual for some 70 to 80 countries to be represented here. Like Russia for example.

We found Irina Kucherenko waving to her husband, mother in law and one of her two young children.

Irina came to the U.S. as an exchange student. “America is unique country, freedoms, my husband recently got into politics and we read the declaration and constitution, it’s an honor to be a U.S. citizen, the freedoms of life and pursuit of happiness, the liberty,” she said.

Then there’s the story of a mother and son– yes, Teresa and Mario Torres are taking the citizenship oath together.

29-year-old Mario was four months old when his parents immigrated here. He and his mom work at Barona Casino. We get a victory, oh my so special I work at Barona too and when they found out I passed by test, there was a celebration, I work table games they had a big cake,” he said. “We’ve lived here so long, dream come true to be a U.S. citizen”

The naturalization ceremony also includes help with voter registration, social security and obtaining a U.S. passport– all things many of us take for granted…. but not these people.

Categories: Local San Diego News