New citizens sworn in on USS Hornet in Alameda

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- They gathered on the sunbaked deck of the USS Hornet in Alameda -- 76 immigrants from 31 countries about to become American citizens.

Donovan Velasquez's family is from Nicaragua. "I do feel welcome, especially here today," said Donovan Velasquez, whose family is from Nicaragua.

For many, the day capped a journey of determination and promise. And now the responsibility of free speech and voting in a new country now banning travel for some and building walls to keep out others.

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A woman takes the oath of naturalization at a citizenship ceremony in San Jose, California on January 25, 2018.

Claudia Arroyo is originally from Mexico and works for a nonprofit that helps young Latinos. "I'm ready to speak out for other immigrants. I know that right now, there are many things going on, and I really want to be the voice for workers that are here," she says.

Hawesta Wassel was a little girl when her family left Afghanistan and attended the ceremony with her own daughter.

"I don't think there should be a travel ban at all. I think everyone should have the same rights as everyone else," she said.

Vice Admiral Linda Fagan of the United States Coast Guard welcomed the crowd, telling them that they make the country stronger with their passion and energy.

"Together we make America greater, and together America is greater now with your citizenship," said Fagan.

And with determination and hope for a better life, they raised their right hands, repeating the promises we're all asked to keep.
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