96 new U.S. citizens welcomed into fold
PORTSMOUTH — Ninety-six people from 52 countries and five continents were welcomed as U.S. citizens during the annual naturalization ceremony at Strawbery Banke on Monday.
Patricia Janetos, who emigrated from Brazil, has been living in the United States for 20 years. She said it was time for her to be able to vote.
"It means I am a part of the country 100 percent," Janetos said. "It's the greatest thing that I have ever done, and I am really happy."
Larry Yerdon, president and CEO of Strawbery Banke, asked the new citizens to remember those who traveled across the ocean hundreds of years ago to settle in this country. Colonists first landed in 1623 on the site where the museum is located.
"These newcomers started their lives in America in the community you see around you today," Yerdon said.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, said that as she looked at the faces of the new citizens, she saw America.
Shaheen said the United States is the most successful and dynamic country in the world because of the contributions of immigrants.
"Immigrants are more than two times as likely to start a new business," Shaheen said.
The senator urged the new citizens to be active participants in the nation's democracy, encouraging them to vote, run for office and push their children to become U.S. President.
The home countries of the new citizens included Australia, Canada, China, Iraq, Ireland, Poland and South Sudan.