Ninety-eight Indianapolis residents from across the globe will celebrate their first Fourth of July as Americans this week.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker presided over the annual naturalization ceremony at the Benjamin Harrison House on Tuesday, welcoming new citizens from Germany to Egypt and China.
"You have to decide this day what kind of life you want to live as an American citizen from now on, and what kind of citizen you want to be," she told the crowd.
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, a native Australian, earned his citizenship less than two years ago.
"I hope you'll look back on this day not just as a day that you became citizens, but as a day you became active and engaged U.S. citizens," he told the newest citizens.
Baltazar Torres, who immigrated from Mexico, doesn't speak English, but he studied hard to pass his citizenship test.
"He would sleep with a tape recorder and would listen to it every night for 10 months," his translator said.
Yamane Gessesse, who was born in Ethiopia, said becoming an American citizen is a dream come true.
"It gives me great pleasure saying the following words: My name is Yamane Gessesse, and I'm an American," he said proudly.
Indiana's newest citizens were also encouraged to register to vote after the ceremony.
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