American pride grows in Peoria

By Anna Yee

May 17, 2013 Updated May 18, 2013 at 7:18 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The country's melting pot of cultures just got a little richer.

On Friday,, 86 immigrants from 33 countries were sworn in as new US citizens in Peoria.

Judge James Shadid oversaw the nationalization ceremony.

He says despite talk of increasing immigration limitations nationwide, he considers the citizens who took oath today the "gold star standard" of US citizenship.

"These are a group of inspiring men and women who have done things the right way," said Judge Shadid. "They've played by the rules and have become citizens today. I don't think you can say enough about them."

Maria Rosa Grow is from Spain.

She became an American citizen on Wednesday after living in the states for nearly 50 years.

"I'll be able to vote. That's what I wanted to do," said Grow, a longtime Peoria resident. "I like to be involved in the community. I like to be part of the community, so now that I'm a citizen, I can vote and sign petitions."

Wednesday's naturalization ceremony is one of seven ceremonies scheduled in Peoria this year.