POSTED: Friday, November 18, 2011 - 5:25pm
UPDATED: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 10:21pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — Jebbeh Massaquoi came to the United States to get away from the war that was ripping West Africa apart.
"They were fighting, killing people, so if you wanted to be safe, you had to run through the bushes and find yourself another country," she says. "You had to flee because you are fighting for your life."
Massaquoi has been in America for seven years. Friday, she finally took the oath to become an American citizen.
"It has been my dream and today is the day. I am so happy, and I can't wait to share this dream with other people."
Yeni Benitez is from El Salvador. She celebrated her birthday two days ago.
"This is like my birthday. It's like a second birthday that I can celebrate for the rest of my life," she says.
It has taken Benitez three years to get to this point.
"I had to first learn English very well, and then learn about the country, and then start the process," she explains.
She and 25 other people took the oath to become American citizens in the federal courthouse Friday morning. They represented 17 different countries before the ceremony was over.
"It's just the liberty and all of the freedom that we can enjoy," says Benitez when asked what she loves most about America.
They all say there are lots of things that they like about living here.
"The best part is that people here are sincere. They will tell you the way. They feel that's the best thing. They will tell you if they don't like you," says Nigeria native Joshua Adetona.
All of them are thankful and proud to call themselves Americans.
"This is my true American dream," says Benitez.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Republican Women hosted the New Citizen Naturalization Ceremony. They say they hold events like this every year, happy to welcome new people into our country.