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About 200 Phoenix residents naturalized on Fourth of July

PHOENIX — About 200 foreign-born Phoenix area residents became United States citizens Friday morning at a ceremony at South Mountain Community College.

United States District Judge Roslyn Silver welcomed the new citizens by saying, “You’re in. You’re now citizens of this great country, the United States of America.”

The new Americans come from 54 countries including Mexico.

Long Lee spent his first 21 years in Vietnam and has lived for the past five years in Chandler. Holding an American flag and flashing a big smile, he says Friday and the Fourth of July is all about freedom.

“I’m happy and excited about the opportunity. I spent five years to become a citizen and today is the payoff.”

Dana Stallings from Trinidad also became a new citizen but feels like she has been an American before it became official. She’s a United States Marine.

“It wasn’t an easy process to become a citizen but luckily the military gave me the opportunity.”

Tucson also held a naturalization ceremony at Saguaro National Park.