Locals Follow An American Tradition - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Locals Follow An American Tradition

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SALISBURY, Md. - Each year close to one million people make the choice to officially call America home. That dream came true for several local residents this week, as they took the oath to become U.S. citizens.

During a Thursday ceremony at Salisbury University, held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, 32 people turned in their conditional residency cards, raised their right hands, and left their former countries behind.

"You are now full members of our American family, and I have the great privilege of welcoming you," said Conrad Zaragoza, Field Officer Director for the USCIS Baltimore Office.

It was the second annual citizenship event held in the area. Zaragoza says it helps the office get out into the community when there's a request, so that potential citizens won't have to travel to Baltimore.

The day was the culmination of a long journey for some, like Anjan Nan, a professor of Pharmacy at UMES. his road to citizenship started when he came to the U.S. from India as a student nearly 15 years ago.

"The United States was a place where you have a lot of opportunity in terms of doing research, promoting higher education," Nan said.

And Andrei Crista decided to do it for a reason close to his heart.

"It was love," Crista said, smiling.

He met his wife, Haley, in Ocean City a few years ago while he was on a work visa from Romania. He says it was an easy choice to make America his new home.

"Because I knew the language and culture more," Crista said.

That familiarity could have played a part in what it takes to become a citizen.

"You have to take a test about us history and civics," Nan explained. "And there's ten questions."

And each applicant that came in Thursday passed the interview, the reading and writing portion, and the civics test.

"You deserve to be proud of what you have done," Zaragoza said to the room, as they raised the American Flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

It was the moment when a goal was reached, a dream fulfilled, and they all became part of an American tradition.

For more information on becoming an American Citizen, visit www.USCIS.gov

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