Five men and women from the armed forces were sworn in as citizens Tuesday at the Arizona State Capitol, marking the end of a long journey for many of them.
"I've been waiting since I got here," said Army Pvt. Itzayana Garcia, 20, who came to the United States from Mexico as an infant. "When I was little I thought that I was American; I originally thought I was from here."
Garcia said the feeling of finally obtaining her citizenship after 19 years was an incredible feeling.
"It feels amazing, it's something I've always wanted to do," she said. "I went to serve my country when I was 18, and now I'm happy that I'm an actual citizen, even though Americans have always made me feel like I was from here."
Another soldier sworn in Tuesday was Army Pfc. Carlos Martinez from Surprise, Ariz., who said he was glad to finally become a citizen and that his family has been an important part of his journey.
"It's exciting, I've been waiting for this," he said. "I have my kids and I have my family and I was just waiting for this."
For Garcia, she said she has received a lot of support from her mother, including during her service in the military.
"Everything I do, I do it for her," she said. "You fight for the people that you love, I love my mom and I love this country."