COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Immigration populations across the country are on the rise, and some new citizens are in our own back yard.
Findings from the Pew Research Center have an estimated 78 million foreign-born people will be living in the U.S. by the year 2060.
The journey to the moment where 40 middle Georgia residents representing 22 countries swore an oath of allegiance to the United States on Tuesday had road blocks and obstacles for some.
"Going through the right process for me is very important. I'm grateful that I can, and I'm excited," said one new U.S. citizen, Carlos Aeschlimann.
"Different culture, different language," said Seyahwash Navid.
For Navid, this ceremony symbolizes a long trek, fleeing from Afghanistan to new hopes and opportunities that are now at his reach.
"I feel great I'm really excited, I've been waiting for this, for a long time now," said Navid.
However, not all have traveled so far. Aeschlimann spent only three days in Mexico after being born before moving to Texas. It wasn't until he went to apply for a drivers license as a teenager that he realized something was off.
"As hard as it is to believe, I didn't know that I was a Mexican citizen still, I always thought I was an American," said Aeschlimann.
As Aesclimann and so many others celebrate today's personal accomplishment, there was a mix of excitement and gratitude.
"I'm happy to be here and I thank God every day for giving me the persistence to achieve goals to strive for better," said Aeschlimann.
"My son, he [was] born here, he's [a] U.S. citizen and now all [my] family [are] U.S. citizen[s], we [are] going to stay happy together," said Jalpa Patel, another new citizen present at Tuesday's ceremony.
The naturalization process can cost applicants over $1,000 in fees. People must also complete writing, civic, and history tests, along with an interview process, at least one year as a resident, plus submitting finger prints and documentation.
Would you be able to pass the civilization test?
Take a look at these questions and see a full list here.
1. What is the supreme law of the land?
- The Constitution
2. What does the Constitution do?
- Sets up the government
- Defines the government
- Protects basic rights of Americans
3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
- We the People
4. What is an amendment?
- A change (to the Constitution)
- An addition (to the Constitution)
5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
- The Bill of Rights
6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*
- Petition the government
7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
- Twenty-seven (27)
8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
- Announced our independence (from Great Britain)
- Declared our independence (from Great Britain)
- Said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)
9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
- Pursuit of happiness
10. What is freedom of religion?
- You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.