RICHFIELD, Minn. (FOX 9) - Tuesday was a special day at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, as 201 new Americans took the oath of citizenship.
The new citizens originated in 47 countries including Syria, Russia, China and Canada. The largest group was from Somalia. Two of the new Americans came from Guatemala, including Miguel Solorzano, who started the process of citizenship about six years ago.
“It’s something that you can’t describe...extremely happy, a lot of families, friends, and I've been so happy to be here,” Solorzano said.
The ceremony was aptly placed in Richfield, where voters recently elected Minnesota’s first ever Latina mayor.
“My mother left her entire family and everything she knew behind, in search for a better life for her future family,” Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez told the crowd.
Holy Angels students performed the National Anthem and United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert J. Kressel presided over the ceremony.
“I hope you preserve your native language, heritage and culture. Doing so not only enriches the lives of those in your families, it also enriches America and all of us living here,” Kressel said.
New citizens offered advice to those embarking on their same journey.
“Just to encourage people who are in this process now to get this courage if they find challenges. They will overcome like I did,” Solorzano said.
“If you have the opportunity to come to America legally, don’t hesitate to apply for citizenship, because there are a lot of benefits, there are a lot of opportunities, and you have so many rights, and you have freedom. That’s what I will always urge for, freedom. That’s why I love this country, It makes me free. I’m proud to be an American,” said David Nimpson, a new citizen from Liberia.