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This Monday, dreams come true for 5,000 immigrants

Citizenship. It's the hope and the dream of countless immigrants who come to America every year. It turns an outsider into someone who belongs. It confers the right to vote and help guide the country's future. It opens up a world of new possibilities and new responsibilities.

This Presidents Day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will bestow the coveted title of "U.S. citizen" on nearly 5,000 men and women.

Between February 13 and February 22, USCIS is planning to hold naturalization ceremonies nationwide. In Florida, the ceremonies will be held at the USCIS Tampa Field Office on February 13 and the USCIS Oakland Park Field Office on February 20.

The rights that these new citizens will enjoy include:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • The right to trial by jury
  • The right to vote and run for office
  • The right to hold employment positions within the federal government

Their new responsibilities will also include:

  • Upholding the U.S. Constitution
  • Playing an active role in the democratic process and in their local communities
  • Adhering to all state and federal laws
  • Paying state and federal income taxes
  • Performing jury duty when requested
  • Helping defend the U.S. when necessary

If you are not yet a citizen of this country but you would like to be someday, a lawyer with experience in immigration law can explain the requirements in detail. If you are eligible, he or she can also help guide you through the process of seeking naturalization and, ultimately, joining the ranks of those who call themselves true Americans.

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