A diverse crowd of North Texans are celebrating their new status as American citizens Monday.
At the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services District Office in Irving, a naturalization ceremony welcomed new Americans like Jose Bernardo.
"It has a big meaning, a big meaning that I can't actually, I cannot describe it right now," said Bernardo.
Bernardo said he immigrated to the U.S. four years ago and has been studying to become a neurologist so he can help his disabled son.
"The doctors couldn't figure out what was happening to him. Because he was 3-months-old and he was perfectly fine," he said.
Bernardo said he's been studying full-time and working 30-hours a week to provide for his family.
"Selling fruits at a flea market, that's actually what I do. I know it sounds kind of crazy, because I'm doing fruits and I'm doing science and school the whole week," he said.
Bernardo is one of almost 100 area residents who came out to take their oath of allegiance. They represent more than 30 different countries and said they waited years to fulfill their dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.
"I'm totally excited. It's something I dreamt of, and it's finally a reality, so I'm excited to be an American citizen," said Opeyemi Oremade, originally from Nigeria.
As loved ones snap pictures on the momentous day, Bernardo said he's thankful for the chance to reach for his goals.
"Here I work and actually have the opportunity to have a better life, better education, and a very good family," said Bernardo.