32 sworn in as new U.S. citizens during Omaha ceremony

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Thirty-two people raised their hands and were sworn in as U.S. citizens during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Omaha.

More than 30 people were sworn in as U.S. citizens Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at a ceremony in Omaha. (Lileana Pearson / WOWT)

But one person, in particular, stood out.

Milena Yepes come to America from Columbia 12 years ago with her husband. But it was her children, who are citizens, that motivated her to work through the complicated citizenship process.

"Finally I got my citizenship after many years and many applications and many fees but finally I got to come here and be a citizen," Yepes said.

Yepes has witnessed America's views of immigration evolve in the last few years but still feels this country will give her a better future.

"Like the judge inside said, I mean, this is a country of freedom," Yepes said.

It was a sentiment U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Bazis repeated several times through the short ceremony.

"This is the last time we will recognize you as America's newest citizens because going forward you will have all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities and benefits of all other American citizens," Bazis said.

It's a way of life Yepes and her family are now fully a part of. Something that was years in the making and completed in an instant.

In total, 21 countries were represented: Afghanistan, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Venezuela and Vietnam.