They were told they were eligible to register to vote as soon as the ceremony was over; apply for a U.S. passport and their biological or adopted foreign born children under 18 are also citizens through them.
Nancy Colby, 41, came from Canada 18 years ago to work as a nurse. She purchased a citizenship book to practice for the exam.
“I never studied U.S. history and it was a challenge, but my daughter Emily helped me study and kept me on a schedule. I thank her for that,” Colby said. In addition to Emily, she and her husband Tim have a second daughter.
“My family is here and this is where I’ve made my home,” said Colby, who lives in Rowley. “I’m excited and emotional about becoming a citizen because it’s easier to vote and do things that other things citizens do. I’m proud to belong to a country as the U.S.,” Colby said.
Carmen Guerrero of Methuen also a nurse, agrees.
“As an immigrant, we all want to go back to our home countries, but after having our families and our professions here, this (the U.S.) is home,” said Guerrero, 37, who came from Quito, Ecuador 20 years ago. She studied English as a second language at Northern Essex Community College and later graduated from the school’s nursing program. Montas, Colby and Guerrero mentioned having the right to vote as one of the reasons for becoming citizens.
No sooner did the ceremony end, Montas walked across the North Common to the Elections Office at City Hall to register to vote in today’s election.
“I’m so thrilled and so happy that I could do that. It’s such a big deal for me,” said Montas, mother of Leah E. Montas, 1, Mikhail Reynoso Montas, 9 and Dante Reynoso Montas, 6.