New U.S. citizens recognized in Bowling Green

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The third annual Reception for New American Citizens took place Tuesday night at the Sloan Convention Center. The recognized one hundred and fifteen inidivudals.

"It's a special day for me, for us, our family," says Hau Lun Cing.

Different people from all over the world gather in one room to celebrate something now they all have in common.

"To be honest, I feel like I fit in more," says Shwe Win, student at Greenwood High School.

Becoming a U.S. citizen is not that easy to obtain.

"It's been a long process. I started applying through my parents, through my dad, him passing away, I lost all of my time," says Amanda Villarreal.

The city of Bowling Green says it's important to recognize these new American citizen and the complex process.

"Citizenship is how the country's evolved," says Kevin Defebbo, City Manager. "They've already paid the price, and have been contributing to our community for a number a years."

The strong presence of the city government in the room is an extra plus for the new citizens, and the government as well.

"We want to make sure that not only do we welcome our new citizens into the community, but they get connected to city government services," says Leyda Becker, International Liaison.

After the national anthem, sang by new citizen and Greenwood High School student, Cing Nuam, the city went on to announe over one hundred citizens who became naturalized within the last year.

"It's definitely a dream for me and my family," says Villarreal.

Also assuring the new citizens have a voice, registering people to vote right then and there.

"I've always wanted to be able to vote in elections, so when I turn 18, that's the green light," says Win.

A night of relief and plenty of smiles as they look forward to their futures in Bowling Green and in the United States of America.

"I've met a lot of nice people," "Proud to be apart of the land of freedom," says Benedict Ghung Awm.

To become a U.S. citizen, individuals must fill out applications, pay fees, pass an exam, complete interviews and hold a green card for up to five years. Needless to say, tonight was breath of fresh air for many new Americans in Bowling Green.

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