BALTIMORE (WJZ)– This Thanksgiving is one to remember for a group of strangers who now have something in common. They became U.S. citizens Tuesday.
17 people who walked into City Hall Tuesday morning as immigrants are now citizens of the United States.
The men and women put themselves in the shoes of millions before them – having left their countries of birth and becoming U.S. citizens, and many of them are residents of the city of Baltimore.
“As mayor of the city of Baltimore I have had the pleasure of working with many of the most diverse, resilient and proud communities in the country. Our residents have come from all over the globe, seeking opportunity, seeking equality as well as prosperity,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
It has taken some longer than others.
“Although I have lived here for 23 years it took me a while to take the step,” said Lakshmi Swaminathan, who became a naturalized citizen. “And from today I am a proud citizen of the United States of America.”
“It was very special, it’s very important for me, for my family,” said Samuel Ulwadre Olwatayo.
About 430,000 naturalized citizens are estimated to live in Maryland. The United States averages more than 600,000 newly naturalized citizens a year.
The top three countries of origin for new citizens of the U.S. this year are Mexico, India, and the Phillipines.