Children sworn in as legal U.S. citizens

Kids join growing numbers of youths seeking citizenship

The dreams of United States citizenship are shared by a growing number of children.

While hundreds of unaccompanied minors are being housed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland after arriving in the U.S. illegally, another group's journey toward citizenship was being sworn in as citizens during ceremonies at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration headquarters Wednesday morning.

The children are from Mexico, Vietnam and Portugal.

"When you talk about the potential of these young children and our future, it's a tremendous day for them," said Mario Ortiz, district director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The children became citizens through their parents, who either were citizens or who immigrated legally and became citizens.

"I'm so thankful for my parents that they did this for us," said Veronica Reyes Ibarra, after taking the oath of citizenship. "They really do love us to go through so much."

Her parents immigrated from Mexico and worked to obtain citizenship and, in doing so, guaranteed their children's citizenship.

Others who were sworn in included 6-year-old Luis Fuehrmann. He was adopted in Portugal by Markus Fuehrmann and his wife, who are U.S. citizens.

"He thinks this is a big step for him and for his future," said Fuehrmann, who is a sergeant in the Air Force.

The Wednesday ceremony was in sharp contrast to the hundreds of children under the age of 18 who are being housed at Lackland after coming into the country illegally.

"With the support system that is in place for them and the support they receive from extended family members, our goal is for their path to become easier," said Janice Ayala, a Homeland Security investigator.

Their dreams, too, are to one day become U.S. citizens.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.

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