Two dozen immigrants were sworn in as United States citizens Friday during a joyous and emotional ceremony in Pleasanton.
For many, this day has been a long time coming.
Jo Gunderson immigrated from the United Kingdom 11 years ago. The small business owner, whose daughter was born in the U.S., said Friday that she now feels complete.
“I’m proud to be an American,” she said. “I'm proud to be one of these. It's been a long journey, but worth it.”
Prasad Adhikari said he knows Gunderson's journey all too well. Currently working as an engineer for Apple, he moved to the United States 17 years ago.
“This is very, very exciting,” he said. “It's like a dream come true.”
These newly naturalized U.S. residents will, for the first time, get a chance to vote in the Nov. 4 presidential election. While it's obvious that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump differ greatly when it comes to immigration policies, some experts say the vote could be a toss-up for new citizens.
Elizabeth Bergman of California State University, East Bay said: “They might be turned off by the message of the Republican party as of late, but depending on whether they're business owners or not, [they] might not.”
More than 6 million citizens have been naturalized in the U.S. in the past decade. For her part, Gunderson, who said he was thrilled to be among the 24 newest citizens, said both Clinton and Trump represent this country’s diversity.
“I’d be upset if I wasn't able to express my true opinion, if I wasn't able to put pen to paper and cross the box,” she said.