Hundreds of Massachusetts residents are celebrating new beginnings as U.S. citizens.
334 immigrants took the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Boston on Thursday afternoon.
The oath is a symbolic gesture and the final legal step in the long process of becoming a naturalized citizen.
The ceremony’s location in the Great Hall in Faneuil Hall was also symbolic.
It’s the same place where Sam Adams once rallied for independence.
“You have to fight through the challenges, and the opportunities given in this country make it easy,” said Roselyn Lapolla, who’s originally from Kenya.
Lapolla moved to Massachusetts when she was 19-year-old and is now officially a U.S. citizen at 43.
“Just having the freedom to say what’s on your mind without fearing the repercussions is a big plus,” she said.
The naturalization ceremony of hundreds comes after a growing backlog of citizenship ceremonies and immigration applications created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“What should’ve taken a couple months took over two years,” said Mike Fuller, who’s originally from Montreal. “It means a lot more than I thought it would.”
Others told Boston 25 News that they have waited decades for this moment.
Those who left with their naturalization certificates said they are excited to now have access to a host of benefits and the right to vote in local, state and federal elections.
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