• 108 become citizens in Osceola


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - More than 100 people became citizens of the United States at a ceremony in Osceola County Thursday.

    Congress is debating a plan to make the process available to more people.

    People Eyewitness News spoke with at the ceremony were happy with the process and said it wasn't that difficult, but most of them already had a relative who is a citizen.

    For millions of others, caps and waiting lists make becoming a citizen a much different story.

    The 108 new citizens are from 36 different countries, but now all share one country.

    "Today is my best day, because I'm citizen today," said Jose Jabier Urbina of Nicaragua.

    Urbina said the problems in his home country are the reason he came to the United States three years ago.

    "You can speak whatever you want to say," Urbina said. "You have freedom. That's very important."

    Maria Chabiano's father is the oldest immigrant at age 89. He's from Cuba.

    "He feels very happy, it's a special day," Chabiano said.

    Each immigrant at the ceremony was able to become a citizen because they were able to become a legal resident first.

    Most of them were able to become a legal resident because a close family member was already an American.

    After three to five years of living in the United States, they applied for citizenship.

    Five months and an English and civics test later, they did it.

    "It was very interesting in learning it, and not as difficult as people think it is. And I think everyone should know where we all come from," Patricia Soeldner of Canada said.

    The debate in Congress right now is if 11 million undocumented people living in the United States should also have this same opportunity.

    "Today is my big day," said Tidima Satayarekha of Thailand.

    "We're happy to be in America," Chabiano said.

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    108 become citizens in Osceola