Seventeen children become US citizens in time for Independence Day

Hundreds of thousands of people become naturalized citizens a year

San Antonio – The US Citizenship and Immigration Services is on the path of welcoming 9,400 new citizens in 170 naturalization ceremonies by July 7.

Seventeen of those new citizens were sworn in Saturday and all of them were under the age of 14 and from 17 different countries.

The emotional ceremony took place at the DoSeum Children’s Museum in San Antonio.

Many parents were just as ecstatic as the children.

“Am I Singaporean or am I American? There were a lot of questions regarding her identity,” said Summer Qu, who just witnessed her 7-year-old daughter become a citizen. “I am just so proud that today we finally got it finalized and formalized and she can say ‘I am Chinese American.’ It is the first year that we are celebrating as United States citizens.”

“I’m actually in the process of getting my citizenship too,” said Trevor Mosely, who witnessed his four-year-old son become a citizen. “He’s got the added bonus of having an American mom, so it accelerated it for him. We are so proud for Max to have his American citizenship and to be a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.”

Shokare Nakpodia, the keynote speaker of the ceremony, knows all too well about this journey, as he became a citizen in 2010.

“The value of being a citizen of America is that you cannot underestimate it,” he said. “America is freedom. It is progress and success. And for a lot of people, it is a rebirth of life.”

Nakpodia said he has always wanted to become a citizen of America.

“My deepest interest in America is the fact that everyone can come here and be something and we bring all our talents from all over the world and create this unique, wonderful, incredible nation,” he said. “Many of them do not quite understand exactly what the value is but I think creating events like this will make them appreciate in the future the introduction into America.”

The USCIS naturalized approximately 625,000 people in the fiscal year 2020.

More on KSAT:

Seventeen children become US citizens in time for Independence Day

What to know before city’s July 4th fireworks celebration at Woodlawn Lake Park

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.