TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI)- Years of hard work and patience have paid off for the newest American citizens.
Lucinda Ahmed had just witnessed her husband, Tawfik, take the Oath of Allegiance, as a new U.S. citizen. She felt a sense of pride for her husband.
“More opportunities for him,” Lucinda said.
Tawfik came to the United States in 2004 as part of an exchange program.
He and Lucinda married twelve years ago.
Their family owns a wholesale business and farm in Lamar, Mississippi.
Tawfik was one of fourteen people who became U.S. citizens during the ceremony at the Natchez Trace Visitors Center.
Each applicant must be a permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years.
They can then apply for citizenship.
After that the process includes interviews, and exams.
Background checks are conducted and it is all capped off with the naturalization ceremony.
“We know they have worked hard, have studied hard, it’s a different journey for each of the applicants, they have followed the process, they entered lawfully, maintained lawful status and shown they are people of good character,” said Lynuel Dennis, Field Office Director with the USCIS.
Tawfik says all of the work has been worth the effort.
“The most thing I like about America, you can be who you want to be, as long as you work for something, you reach for what you are working for,” he said.
Throughout the process, Tawfik says he has made sure his children realize the blessings, duty and freedoms that come with the title U.S. citizen.
A naturalization ceremony was also held in Oxford on the University of Mississippi campus.