200 people become new U.S. citizens in Phoenix

200 people become new U.S. citizens in Phoenix

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PHOENIX -

This 4th of July, the valley welcomed some of its newest citizens.  200 people took part in a naturalization ceremony at South Mountain Community College.

These new citizens came from 49 different countries and many of them were waiting for this day for years.

"Well now I am happy because I can vote and I can stand up more for my rights," said Brillita Quintero.

Quintero came to the U.S. when she was 5.  Now she's 18 and a senior at Hamilton High School.

"I have strong beliefs in immigration and stuff and I fell like now I can vote and everything is going to better I guess," she said.

Just this week, close to 8,000 candidates will become new citizens.  One man from Nigeria was thrilled to be one of them.

"I came to this country to find a better life and I am proud to be here," he said.

He's been in this country for 5 years.

"I am very happy for America to give me the privilege to be here and have a citizenship," he said.

A few of the new citizens are already serving their country.

"I came here from Peru when I was 8 years old, so about 20 years ago," said Edwin Aranzaens.

Aranzaens joined the Army about five years ago -- as soon as he legally could.  The Moon Valley High School graduate was one of a few new citizens who spoke at the ceremony.

"I grew up here and I love living here and I love living here.  I love every opportunity that I have had. Just want to be a citizen -- I want to have the right to vote and all the rights and responsibilities that come with it," he said.

This week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services planned more than 100 ceremonies just like this one all over the world, including Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

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