CHICAGO - Police and members of the military are sworn in when they begin their service, but a small group took another oath Friday as they officially became citizens of the United States.
Among them was Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro, who has served on the force for 22 years. Alfaro came to the U.S. when he was three. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1983.
Now a naturalized citizen, Alfaro said he has achieved the American dream.
"My father always instilled work hard, and you will be successful," Alfaro said. "And I took that to heart, and that is what I taught my children. So if there is anything to take away from today, it is yeah, you can achieve your dreams. And this is one of them."
Among those who took the naturalization oath with Alfaro were seven members of the United States Navy.
"Just give them my all, show them what my country has to offer also," said Shari Mahon, a new U.S. citizen from Jamaica. "That is the greatest decision I ever made."
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, attended the ceremony and praised the new citizens for their willingness to sacrifice for the U.S. before their citizenship was official.
"For you to step forward even before you became citizens to defend the values enshrined in our constitution is truly unique," Duckworth said.
Duckworth later told reporters that she hoped the ceremony would help President Donald Trump to make decisions in favor of young people who were brought into this country illegally as children.
Friday's ceremony was one of 200 held by United States Customs and Immigration Services to celebrate Constitution Day, which will be observed on Sunday. About 30,000 new U.S. citizens are expected to be naturalized during those ceremonies.