Officially Americans: 24 sworn in as new U.S. citizens

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It was a special day for 24 people who took the oath of citizenship Friday morning, pledging allegiance to the United States of America at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence. Several of them have actually been living in the U.S. for decades but made the move to get official.

Hailing from 16 different countries, each had their own reasons for coming to the U.S.A., from not being able to attend college in their former home country, or a job bringing their family to the area.

Solana Tiplert Silalak said she can hardly wait to vote in a local election. She immigrated alone from Laos more than 30 years ago, and couldn’t help but shed tears of joy. “I’m happy. It’s from inside my heart,” she said.

Helena Cabral was a native of the Azores and has lived in the U.S. for 40 years herself. A job of her own prompted citizenship: “I had gotten offered a job at the VA — and showed my green card, and they denied it… It’s like, I was an American anyway, just had to get the paperwork!”

Dina Platsidakis immigrated from Montreal, Canada when she was very young. Her dad’s job was what brought her family to Central Falls; she’s been in the United States for 50 years. “My husband is an American citizen, my daughter is an American citizen, and I would like to be an American citizen with them!”

Her motivation to get citizenship now? “President Trump. …He inspired me to become a citizen of this country. I think he’s a wonderful leader.”

At the ceremony, a recorded audio message from the president was played, saying in part, “It is with great pride that I welcome you into the American family!”

Sunday, September 17, is both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Some 30,000 new citizens are expected to be naturalized over the course of the coming week, according to the department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Friday’s new citizens came from the countries of Bolivia, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Laos, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Portugal, South Korea, and Vietnam.