SPOKANE, Wash. - As Congress prepares for a debate over immigration reform, one group of immigrants in the Northwest quietly completed their paths to citizenship Tuesday. Fourteen people became U.S. citizens at a ceremony in Spokane, Wash.
One of them was Mukti Ryan. She wanted to be able to travel more easily with her American husband and daughter, even though she had to give up her Indian citizenship.
“India doesn't allow dual citizenship, so I can't call myself an Indian citizen anymore," Ryan says. "It's a bittersweet feeling.”
Ari Alvarez moved his family to the U.S. from Argentina. He heads an electronics company. Alvarez says gaining citizenship was relatively easy, compared with getting permanent residency in the U.S. – or a green card.
“We had to hire – actually, we didn't go alone – we hired attorneys. The company I work for hired a firm to make sure there was no problems going through the process," Alvarez explains. "At some point I had to leave the country. I had to go to Canada, for example, to get the visa stamp on my passport so I could get back.”
Alvarez was pleased to learn at the ceremony that his U.S. citizenship means his two children can also become Americans.
On the Web:
Path to U.S. Citizenship (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)