DENVER (CBS4) — The University of Denver hosted its first naturalization ceremony Wednesday. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) partnered with the university to celebrate 51 new U.S. citizens from 23 different countries.
The Oath of Allegiance was proudly recited by candidates from a long list of nations including Afghanistan, China, India, Iraq and Mexico.
Prasad Pakkal and his wife, Divya, became U.S. Citizens together. Pakkal left India to further his education in Colorado. Wednesday wasn’t the first stage he crossed at DU.
“He came here to study. He didn’t have any idea he wanted to be a citizen at that time, then he started working here. He got married to me [in India] and I came here. We had a daughter here,” explained Divya, Pakkal’s wife.
Their daughter was in the audience, cheering as she watched her parents become Americans, too.
The couple met the requirements needed for naturalization, which includes passing a civics test. They say they’re more than ready to fulfill their new responsibilities, including jury duty.
“I keep hearing about it from everyone at my office and I’ve never seen it how it goes!” said Divya.
While they celebrate their new nationality, the couple will always cherish their Indian heritage. The freedom to do both is why they say they’re proud to be American.
“There’s so much diversity. People, like our children, can learn from different cultures here. It’s not possible in other countries,” said Pakkal.
The first thing Pakkal and Divya did after becoming U.S. citizens was register to vote.