Fifteen people become U.S. citizens during ceremony at UL

Posted at 6:56 PM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 20:05:11-04

LAFAYETTE — Tomorrow is Constitution Day, and UL is marking the occasion with a naturalization ceremony.

Fifteen people from ten different countries are now U.S. citizens. They took the Oath of Allegiance alongside their families.

"I've been waiting for nineteen years for this moment, so it's a very happy day," said Carolina Castaneda.

Castaneda moved to the Unites States from Venezuela with her 4-year-old son in 2001.

"I was raising my son, and I wanted him to be in a better place," she said.

Although the road to become a citizen was long, Castaneda says she was never discouraged.

"It's a safer place for Venezuelans at this moment, and I'm happy to be here," said the Venezuela native. "And now, I'm an American citizen, so I'm not going anywhere."

When asked what she's most excited about, Castaneda admits it's hard to articulate.

"There are difficult words to describe that. It's happiness. I worked so hard to get here today. It is the best day. It's an excellent day."

After the ceremony, the entire constitution was read aloud.

There was also a voter registration area for any of the new citizens who wanted to register right away.

Event organizers say they're proud the university gets to be a part of it.

"A lot of them come extra early because they're just really excited to become citizens and just be part of the country," said Tiffany Ellis. "To see the wonder on their faces... their families are here, cheering them on and everything like that... it's really a sight to see."

This is the third year the university has held the ceremony. The staff is hoping to make it an annual event.