Filipinos heavily represented in LA swearing in of new citizens

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LOS ANGELES – Many of the immigrants reciting the pledge of allegiance for the first time as American citizens on Thursday, August 11, arrived hours before security began allowing people into the West Hall of the LA Convention Center.

The estimated 6,000 immigrants who swore their loyalty to the United States on Thursday came from 142 different countries. Filipinos were the second most represented nationality among participants of Thursday’s ceremonies.

Most had fought through administrative and financial hurdles and waited years for the government to sort through the millions of naturalization applications it receives annually to reach their petitions.

For them, the idea of missing the oath-taking ceremony was unthinkable, according to Claire Nicholson, public affairs officer for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

“I was so excited I didn’t go to sleep until 3 [a.m.], then i woke up again at 5,” said Jacqueline McGinley, a caregiver who immigrated from the Philippines 10 years ago. “Since I was 15 years old, it has been my dream to come here.”

After separating from her first husband in the Philippines, she decided to seek greater opportunities in America. Over time, she found work, remarried and started a family. However, she admits transitioning into life in America wasn’t easy.

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