SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Life just became even better for nearly 100 people living in the “Show Me State.”
On Wednesday afternoon, a ceremony was held at Missouri State University to naturalize 84 applicants as U.S. citizens from 31 countries.
“Exciting, I’m so happy like it’s a dream, for me it’s a dream,” says Landis Orozco, a new U.S. citizen.
“That’s a huge step for everyone in this room. I’m excited, I’m happy,” says Mykhailo Bondarenko, a new U.S. Citizen.
One glance into MSU’s Plaster Student Union Theatre and you might mistake it for the United Nations as each person from their country stood to be recognized.
84 people from 31 countries gathered with one pursuit-to achieve the American dream.,
“Today we celebrate making our country stronger and we make it stronger by welcoming people of talent, energy, and willing to work hard,” says The Hon. M. Douglas Harpool.
Landis Orozco is one of those people. Originally from Mexico, she’s waited 10 years to become a U.S. citizen. She wanted to live in America to escape her country’s poor leadership.
“I love Mexico, but then it became like really, our government is not that good, Mexican government is not really good so the people who live in Mexico are really wanting something different like America,” says Orozco.
Orozco says President Trump’s position on immigration and illegal immigrants doesn’t bother her.
“I think what he wants is to have legal people,” says Orozco.
Ukraine is where Mykhailo Bondarenko is from. He came to the United States as an exchange student and wanted to make America his new home. It’s taken five years for him to become a citizen and he’s hoping it comes with monetary freedom.
“The financial opportunity is much better than the Ukraine and if you are a hard worker, if you’re doing your job, you can achieve anything here, which in the Ukraine it wouldn’t be as easy and as possible,” says Bondarenko.
As for Orozco, she hopes to one day become an attorney.
“I want to study, I want to go to college. At this point even though I have a son and I’m working, I’m a mom working, but I still want to go to the college because I couldn’t do that in my country,” says Orozco.
After the ceremony, the new U.S. citizens were able to sign up for a passport, social security, and register to vote.