In an area rich with ethnic diversity, El Cajon stands out. The city of approximately 100,000 sits just a few minutes northeast of San Diego. It recently celebrated its ethnically diverse population with a citizenship ceremony that transformed immigrants into U.S. citizens.
The ceremony featuring immigrants from more than 54 different countries was part of the “America on Main Street” fest that features food and music from around the world, and respect and appreciation for diversity here at home.
The Union-Tribune states that “El Cajon is home to an estimated 60,000 recent immigrants from Iraq and parts of Africa alone.”
A field officer with the U.S. Citizenship and immigrantion Services in San Diego said, “Naturalization is a great celebration of our values as Americans.”
She said most citizenship ceremonies are downtown in Golden Hall, where monthly ceremonies make about 1,000 to 1,500 immigrants into U.S. citizens.
The recent El Cajon ceremony included people from the United Kingdom and Canada, as well as immigrants from Afghanistan, China and Burundi.
An 18-year-old immigrant from Tanzania said she feels welcome in City Heights, where she lives. She said she became an American citizen to make the ties to her new land even stronger. “I want to feel like I’m at home,” she said.
A 33-year-old woman from India said, “It’s the land of freedom. There is great opportunity here.”
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