JERSEY CITY, New Jersey - The United States of America now has 26 new citizens after they were sworn in at a naturalization ceremony in Jersey City Wednesday.
They come from 18 different countries around the world, and they are all excited about pursuing their American dream.
And in the current political climate, that certificate of naturalization signifies not only freedom and liberty, but also security and relief. And swells the heart of Amine el Marrachi, of Morocco.
"I want to say thank you to the United States for giving me this opportunity," Marrachi said. "And I am very happy."
Since last month, immigrants have been rushing to prepare applications to become U.S. citizens. Legal service organizations catering to diverse immigrant communities from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East all said they've been fielding a rising number of calls and questions about how to become a citizen.
"You can speak up now," Rep. Albio Sires said. "You don't have to worry that if you say something you are going to be put in jail."
In light of President Donald Trump's new and sweeping crackdown on the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants, the ceremony eases the worry among many of the news Americans who worked long and hard to earn their citizenship.
"For me, from Colombia, being a Spanish person, it's very important," Stephany Perez said. "Even my parents, they get a little concerned because they're not citizens yet. Just having this gives you a sense of relief."
For years, immigrant advocates have urged lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders, to naturalize, which would protect them from deportation were they ever convicted of a crime.
Still, millions of eligible immigrants refrain from doing so, citing fear of passing English language and citizenship tests and hundreds of dollars in filing fees.
The 26 people who took the oath of allegiance are just a few of the 25,000 new citizens who took part in President's Day naturalization ceremonies across the country. New Americans now ready to support and defend the Constitution.