Massive naturalization ceremony sees 8,000 become US citizens

It was an emotional day for some 8,000 California residents, as they officially became citizens of the United States earlier this week. The Los Angeles Convention Center hosted the ceremony, which included a congratulatory message from President Barack Obama and, ultimately, their naturalization certificates.

The large crowd may be an indication of a presidential election year, officials said. To obtain voting rights, many community programs and activist groups make a strong push to have immigrants apply for naturalization. It’s not always simple or straightforward, but becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is a rewarding accomplishment for immigrants.

Many people who have immigrated to the U.S. may hear this story and think “I should have been a part of that ceremony.” You may have questions about the naturalization process and what it takes to successfully apply for U.S. citizenship. Two key elements for any naturalization applicant are good moral character and a favorable disposition of the United States.

But these factors don’t tell the whole story when applying for citizenship. The best thing to do is discuss things with a reputable attorney that has experience dealing with immigration issues. A lawyer can help ensure that you meet the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and support you as you seek to naturalization.

A variety of ethnicities were represented at the Los Angeles Convention Center. A director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that the five most prevalent countries at the ceremony were Mexico, the Philippines, China, Vietnam and El Salvador.

Source: KPCC, “More than 8,000 immigrants granted citizenship in Los Angeles, mostly Mexicans and Filipinos,” Ruxandra Guidi, Mar. 22, 2012