Dozens of people become American citizens in downtown Houston

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060815-ktrk-naturalization-vid (KTRK)

Dozens of new Americans are celebrating their citizenship after being sworn in during a naturalization ceremony in downtown Houston this morning.

Becoming a U.S. citizen is something to celebrate. Add to that, the new citizens got a speech by none other than Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who took time out of his visit to Houston to congratulate the new citizens.

"You remind us those of you who worked so hard to get here of how special it is to be a citizen of this great country," said Secretary Johnson.

Today, more than 41 residents of the Houston area can now say they are Americans. The naturalization ceremony took place this morning at the downtown federal courthouse.

Immigrants from Latin America, china, Europe and Pakistan were among those in the group. Juan Pablo Castanon Nuniz, 28, a sergeant in the Marines, was also present. He was born in Mexico, moved to the states when he was just three years old and always wanted to be in the U.S. military.

Since he joined, he's done tours of duty in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan. Today, this sergeant can now say the country he's fought for over six years is officially his own.

"I can't believe it happened," he said. "I thought about this day long before I joined the Marines.

The sergeant says he now plans on going to school and later becoming a Houston police officer.

Secretary Johnson's tour of Houston continues this afternoon at the Baker Institute where he will talk border security.
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