Dozens become American citizens in Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Dozens become American citizens in Tampa

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Dozens of Tampa Bay residents will celebrate the Fourth of July as new American citizens. At an event held at the Tampa Bay History Center, 66 people from 27 different countries took an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Before the room full of citizen candidates raised their hands to take the oath, an immigration services officer announced where they came from, calling out the names of countries including Cuba, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Joe Muita, who is originally from Kenya, called this Fourth of July "the greatest day since I arrived in the U.S." Muita and his wife both became citizens and called the event a milestone in their lives.

Myra Otis, from the Philippines, was also among the new Americans.

"It makes me feel thrilled, very much thrilled to be a part of this joyous occasion," Otis said. "And to be able to do this on America's birthday makes it extra special."

Otis said becoming a citizen gives her an opportunity to give back to a country that was part of molding her as a person.

There were multiple reminders for the new citizens that being an American comes with responsibilities.

In a recorded message, President Barack Obama told them, "This is now officially your country, your home to protect."

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn reminded them to vote, and closed his speech with the message: "We love you. We're proud of you. Go make us even better than we were before you raised your hand."

Click here for this July 4th festivities and fireworks in Tampa Bay. 

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