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Ceremony at Lake Mead welcomes 23 new U.S. citizens

Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 10, 2016

Southern Nevada is now home to 23 new U.S. citizens.

They took their oath of citizenship Thursday at Lake Mead, during a time of uncertainty about what might happen to undocumented immigrants in the coming months.

The naturalization ceremony wasn't all about politics -- far from it. It was about people who took the long path to become citizens.

They filed off the Desert Princess paddleboat with certificates, flags and smiles on their faces.

DJ is one of the new citizens. He's originally from Ethiopia and has been in Las Vegas eight years.

"You don't want to take everything for granted," he said. "You have to stay hopeful. You have to stay optimistic."

That's an attitude he plans to carry into Donald Trump's America.

It's one shared by Amis Calito, whose father Julio took part in the ceremony.

"I am very happy [he did this]," she said. "Finally. It took us a long time to convince him."

Julio arrived in America from Guatemala in 1985. Amis translated for him as he said he believes now is the time to become a citizen.

"With the rumors going around they're going to deport a lot of people that are not citizens, that's the reason why he did it," Amis said.

Julio says he feels safe, secure and hopeful about the future.