The sun was already beating down on Raley Field by 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, when more than a thousand immigrants capped off their long road to United States citizenship.
About 1,335 Sacramento-area residents from 82 countries were sworn in at the stadium. The most represented country was Mexico, with 235 new citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There were 226 people from the Philippines and 129 from India.
Davis resident Sardar Jafarishorijeh of Iran was among those who received citizenship.
Jafarishorijeh studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis for three years, finishing way back in 1981. Upon completion, he went back to Iran and lived life alongside his wife. But he never forgot about Davis.
When it came time to retire more than 25 years later in 2007 he and his wife came back. Not just to the United States, but to Davis specifically.
Now, five years later, he is a citizen, and he's excited about it. He looks forward to being able to vote in the upcoming presidential election, as well as future city council elections.
“I am very happy today,” he said. “It’s a very important day for me.”
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was K. Maurice Johannessen, an immigrant from Sweden who most recently served as Secretary of the California Department of Veterans in 2003. He was also a state senator and the mayor of Redding, among other things.
A prerecorded message from President Barack Obama played on the jumbo-tron as well.
More than 4,000 new citizens were sworn in throughout the country between June 28-July 10 in celebration of the nation's 236th birthday, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Do you know anybody who recently received citizenship? What did it mean to them?