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About 200 Phoenix residents naturalized on Fourth of July

Long Lee, born in Vietnam, is shown during a naturalization ceremony at South Mountain Community College on July 4, 2014 in Phoenix, Ariz. (KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX -- About 200 foreign-born Phoenix area residents became United States citizens Friday morning at a ceremony at South Mountain Community College.

United States District Judge Roslyn Silver welcomed the new citizens by saying, "You're in. You're now citizens of this great country, the United States of America."

The new Americans come from 54 countries including Mexico.

Long Lee spent his first 21 years in Vietnam and has lived for the past five years in Chandler. Holding an American flag and flashing a big smile, he says Friday and the Fourth of July is all about freedom.

"I'm happy and excited about the opportunity. I spent five years to become a citizen and today is the payoff."

Dana Stallings from Trinidad also became a new citizen but feels like she has been an American before it became official. She's a United States Marine.

"It wasn't an easy process to become a citizen but luckily the military gave me the opportunity."

Tucson also held a naturalization ceremony at Saguaro National Park.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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