When Karina Borbon arrived in the U.S. 10 years ago from the Dominican Republic, she dreamed of becoming a citizen but struggled to learn English — and worried about the threat of deportation.
Her dream was finally realized on Tuesday, when Borbon became an American citizen at the fifth annual Independence Day naturalization ceremony at the New York Public Library in Midtown.
“I am so excited…It was a long journey but finally, I did it,” said Borbon, 32, who works as a waitress in the Bronx. “Now I have become a part of the nation. I want to help my community and help the people become citizens, too.”
Borbon was one of 86 Dominican immigrants at the ceremony — a majority of the 200 candidates who hailed from over 50 countries.
“I was very nervous because of my accent,” he said. “No one would understand me.”
Now, Victorin said, America feels like home. So much so, that a year ago he decided to join the U.S. Army Reserves as a unit supply specialist, hoping to make a difference by serving his country.
“It’s a feeling I can’t explain,” he said about becoming a citizen. “It’s my pleasure to serve the country that I’m becoming a citizen of.”
Enobing Etim Mbaba, a native of Nigeria, is the last in her family to become a citizen. She was looking forward to being able to travel easily with her son and husband.
“It’s going to change my life a lot,” said Mbaba, 44, of the Bronx. “Anywhere I want to go…any country I want to go to — I can.”
During the ceremony, Mbaba and other candidates recited the Oath of Allegiance, by which new citizens pledge to abide by the laws and Constitution of the U.S., and waved tiny American flags as “Proud to be an American” played.