FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) –On Thursday, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) celebrated National Citizenship Day with a naturalization ceremony at the Betty Rodriguez Library in Fresno. 

The event had a special meaning for Mexican Americans also celebrating Mexico’s independence day. 

“For many people, especially in the Central Valley, it can take five to 20 years. Those number of years require a lot of patience, perseverance,” said USCIS Fresno field office director Lynn Quan Feldman.

Twenty immigrants from seven countries including Mexico, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Thailand, China, and Yemen were sworn in on Friday morning. The event recognized children under 21 who obtained citizenship through their parents. 

“It is quite a process, it is challenging, it is fearful for some folks,” said USCIS Citizenship Ambassador, Margarita Rocha. 

The ceremony also coincided with Mexico’s independence day.

“We won’t forget Mexico,” shared Janet Moreno in Spanish. 

Her son and daughter received their certificate after waiting for three years.

“That I think is what makes this country great,” said Feldman. “It really empowers the new immigrants to make this country more colorful, but to create a history where each person’s background really enriches us as Americans.”

“It is a very important day for me as a Mexican American,” shared Clarissa Vivian-Petrucci, who was sworn in two weeks ago. 

The 36-year-old is celebrating her naturalization after 11 years.

“My heart is binational. The love doesn’t divide, the love multiplies. You love two countries now. This is the country that has provided so much, but also we come from somewhere and it’s in our DNA.”

USCIS naturalizes about 1,000 immigrants a month in the Central Valley.