YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – While controversy stirs over thousands of undocumented immigrants crossing U.S. borders every day, many take the steps needed to become citizens through legal channels, and a naturalization ceremony was held Thursday in Youngstown to welcome six of those new citizens.
“Our area was founded by Italian immigrants, Croatian immigrants, and Eastern European immigrants coming here to work in the steel mills. That is what made our country great. That is what made our community great,” said Mahoning County Probate Judge Anthony Rusu.
Borders are being overwhelmed by people crossing illegally. Women, children and others are looking for a better life or trying to escape violence in their native countries. Rusu said our civil liberties are what attract many to the United States. “People want to be part of that,” he said.
Amanda Cruz is a new citizen. Speaking through an interpreter, she said there are no shortcuts to legal citizenship. Cruze’s journey took 17 years to complete.
“The correct way would be to go through the process of immigration, doing paperwork, and what is necessary,” Cruz said.
Rusu said the economy often has a part to play in the national debate over immigration. He said when the economy is doing well and there are jobs, immigration is not such a hot button topic anymore.
All six of the naturalized citizens at Thursday’s ceremony were required to pass exams and swore an oath to the United States of America.