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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was the end of a long process Monday morning at the Miami City Hall building as 25 individuals from 14 countries took the allegiance oath to become United States citizens.

“You remember the day you became a US citizen, it is a very special day,” said Emilio T. Gonzalez the Miami City Manager and a naturalized citizen himself.

Surrounded by friends and family the 25 took the oath and walked out the door with certificates in hand as new citizens.

While addressing the crowd shortly after the oath was taken, Gonzalez stressed one thing, “register to vote.”

“Not everyone can vote in their places of origin and this is a country where voting is a privilege something they should avail themselves to,” Gonzalez said after the ceremony.

“If you’re not going to vote and be part of the society then what’s the point of going through all of this.”

One of the new citizens was Alona Epstein-Daya from Israel. She came to the United States for her children to give them a better life but realizes that this is not the end.

“It’s the end of one journey and the beginning of another,” Epstein-Daya said leaving City Hall with her family and friends.

Everyone leaving had the intent to vote and planned on registering as soon as possible.

Janet Arvelo is from Venezuela and was excited to be walking out a new citizen.

“I value the freedom and liberty of this county,” she said. As for what she wanted to do next she immediately replied, “Register to vote, of course!”

Dave Warren


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