115 become US citizens in Chicago Tuesday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 100 people in Chicago became U.S. citizens Tuesday during this time of immigration controversy.

One hundred fifteen soon-to-be U.S. citizens representing 34 countries packed a courtroom in the Dirksen Federal Building.

They had turned in their green cards and were minutes away from taking the oath of allegiance, the final step in becoming a U.S. citizen.

"That does not mean that you leave behind everything. You bring with you your culture, and your languages - all of the important traditions you have you bring that all with you," said Judge Maria Valdez.

And happy to be sitting in front of the judge was Waylet Marano, who came to the U.S. with her family from Iraq in 2007.

"We pray to God. I saw everything in my country. I saw everything, honey," said Marano.

Her naturalization comes days after President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries entry to the United States.

Taking the oath was an emotional experience for Mika Shastri. She came to the U.S. from India with her family at the age of 13. Now 35, she is ready to fulfill her duties as a U.S. citizen.

"I could have a number of opinions, I could have lots of statements, but it doesn't matter unless I have the right to do something about it. Now I do," she said.

And being able to vote is something Diana Ponce is looking forward to. The 21-year-old college student came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child with her family.

"It was really hard not being able to vote this November, and I hope to be more involved politically as well and not live in fear anymore," she said.
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