PEORIA, IL. -- "Oh it feels awesome. I can't explain in words. I've been waiting for this for so long," Mayanne Large, native from the Philippines.
Friday, immigrants from 22 nations raised their right hand and took the oath of allegiance to the United States.
It takes several years to gain citizenship, the applicants must go through finger-printing, give an interview, and provide photo identification. But those who make it say all that hard work is worth it.
"Well it's been a long time. I came over , over 35 years ago and I'm not planning to go back to England to live. So I thought I should become a U.S. citizen. I'll be able to vote," Nick Ripley, native of England.
Senior Judge Joe McDade proceeded over the ceremony, he says the naturalization of new citizens is important to the growth of this nation.
"That is what makes America what it is. This diversity, and how different we are. And how, this is how it should be, and this what what America stands for," Judge McDade.
Many of the newly declared U.S. citizens commemorated the event by registering to vote.