Children become citizens at Bronx Zoo

Children become citizens at Bronx Zoo
Jose Serrano waves an American flag with some of the children who took the oath on Friday, April 20. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Jose can you see?

Holding a small American flag in his hand, Congressman Jose Serrano welcomed the newest – and youngest – citizens, holding their own flags, to the United States recently.

“You must work hard and show people that immigrants are the strength of America,” Serrano told the 25 children, ages three to 13 and from countries around the globe, at their swearing in as U.S. citizens in ceremonies held Friday, April 20 at the Bronx Zoo’s Schiff Hall.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services district director Andrea Quarantillo administered the oath of citizenship to the youngsters, hailing from countries including Albania, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, India, and Vietnam.

Serrano told the children the event would be one their parents would always remind them of as a monumental occasion in their lives.

As both he and the children held small U.S. flags, Serrano told them: “This is your flag – honor it, love it, wave it proudly.”

Eleven-year-old Lucas Orlando Mota came from the Dominican Republic to join his mother Severa Mota, who became a U.S. citizen two years ago, and his sister Nicole, born in the United States. He took the oath as proud mom Severa and dad Luis Orlando Mota looked on.

“I am proud, because now I can be an American and fit in with the people at my school,” said Lucas.

Genty Khervens, a native of Haiti, wanted to become a citizen after he recently saw his mother sworn in and receive her certificate. Becoming a U.S. citizen may help him bridge the gap between the two cultures of his native and adopted countries, he said.

“At home and when I am with my family, I speak Creole. But when I am out with my friends or talking to my teachers, I speak English,” Khervens said. “Becoming a citizen is a good thing for me because I remember my Haitian culture, but I am not losing touch with America.”

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