Hundreds Become U.S. Citizens at Downtown Miami Ceremony

Over 100 people were naturalized Friday at a special naturalization ceremony hosted at the History Miami plaza.

At the center of the downtown museum where the ceremony took place, people from 25 different countries became naturalized American citizens.

“This means a lot to me, it’s life changing,” said Kimberly Hendricks, who became a new citizen.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was the keynote speaker, sharing how she also went through the naturalization process after she arrived from Cuba at the age of eight.

“When each person comes with the hope that a new opportunity awaits them in this country, it’s up to them to make this country even better,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who announced her retirement this week.

“We believe this plaza is a place of civic engagement and it brings people together to learn about the museums and history of South Florida,” said museum director Jorge Zamanilo. “They are able to become citizens facing the courthouse across the street and welcomed into our country.”

For this batch of new American citizens many say they’re glad they now have the right to vote.

“It’s really important to have a voice in this country – especially now with everything going on with latino community and other communities around the world,” said Reynaldo Mejia, who also became a new citizen.

Many say their citizenship will allow them to live without fear following President Trump’s policy to ramp up deportation of undocumented immigrants.

“I think that’s why we are here standing here today going through this process to be able to have a voice for our brothers who don’t have it,” Mejia said.