Immigrants celebrate becoming U.S. citizens on Independence Day - CBS46 News

Immigrants celebrate becoming U.S. citizens on Independence Day

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Here at the Carter Center, dozens of people celebrated a milestone they will never forget, becoming American citizens.

Erin Joyner usually celebrates the Fourth of July at the beach with friends, but not this year.

"We thought we should celebrate the contributions of immigrants and what really makes America great," says Joyner. "I think it's an important time to stand by the communities that are perhaps being marginalized or struggling in any kind of way and to show that we are welcoming, and do support their continued desire to come to the U.S. and contribute to the fabric of our society."

One of those who wants to contribute is Faizan Riaz.

He's working on his cybersecurity degree and proudly showed CBS46 the certificate which now officially makes him an American citizen.

"This is a land of opportunities," says Riaz, who is from Pakistan. "And if somebody wants to study here, someone wants to raise a family here, someone wants to do a business here, this is the land to be at."

It's the simple things he values.

"As a Muslim, I have freedom of religion. I can pray anywhere I want. This is something I really honor and I really acknowledge. The U.S. gave me that freedom."

On this Independence Day, Riaz is thankful the U.S. gave him and 47 other new American citizens were given hope and opportunity.

"Every human being they are looking to find peace. For that, I would like to give a message to everyone that they should not have hatred for anyone. We should try to love human race."

CBS46 is told the people who became naturalized American citizens came from 32 different countries.

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