STURBRIDGE, Mass.– Almost a 100 immigrants from 44 different countries celebrated the 4th of July a very special way this year by becoming American citizens at a swearing-in ceremony held in Old Sturbridge Village.
Manirakiza Jamari came to Springfield as a war refugee six years ago from Burundi, a small African country right next to Rwanda. He was elated to receive the news that he could become an American citizen.
“I was excited when I was told that I was going to be sworn in on Independence Day, July 4th, so that was amazing. I’ve always wanted to become an U.S. citizen and finally,” he said.
“They leave other countries to come to the promised land and today is the final step,” added Luis Chaves, field office director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Jamari goes to Holyoke Community College and wants be a probation officer after he graduates to help those who need it the most.
“Helping people has always been my passion. All I want is to help just like I was helped. I’ve been through such bad moments so getting here and seizing that opportunity… it makes me happy”
As a naturalized citizen himself, Chaves proclaimed, “It’s a great day. It’s a great feeling. It’s a sense of finally belonging to a country– I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.”