REDMOND, Ore. - Fifteen Oregon residents become citizens of the United States at a special ceremony Saturday at Redmond's Centennial Park during the annual Festival of Cultures.
The candidates for citizenship came from five countries, most from Mexico.
After taking the oath, the group was welcomed by Redmond Mayor George Endicott, then listened to a recorded congratulations from President Obama.
NewsChannel 21 spoke with a couple of the new citizens, one from Bend, another from Madras. Both said they were honored to be a part of the ceremony and become citizens.
"The United States is still the best country in the world," said new citizen Jacobus Poland of the Netherlands, an organic dairy farmer from Madras. "If you're willing to work hard and smart, you can make yourself a really nice life. Whenever I travel back to Holland,, after about four days in Holland, I can't wait to come back here."
Some decided to become citizens because they mainly identify with the United States.
"I became a U.S. citizen, and decided to go for it because I've lived here most of my life, and just everything that America has to offer you," said 25-year-old Bend resident Rocio Gonzalez.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service Portland field office naturalizes the candidates. Each year, about 7,000 immigrants become U.S. citizens in Oregon.