TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Fourth of July is a day spent celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave. For 20 people in Tucson, the Fourth of July this year is something much more. It's the day they become U.S. citizens.
Twenty people from Brazil, Nepal, Mexico, Canada, Chile, India, Iraq, and the Philippines will officially be gr anted their citizenship in the U.S. in a ceremony at Saguaro National Park.
The Tucson ceremony is one of nearly 175 naturalization ceremonies happening across the U.S. through July 10 and the 20 people given their citizenship on Wednesday will join the more than 14,000 other people becoming U.S. citizens through July 10.
In the case of Burundi refugee Abraham Nshimimanna, the holiday is a reminder of what he wants: to become an American. He's been through a lot in the past five years.
Nshimimanna came to the U.S. for college in 2013. After some of his family members were forced to flee turmoil in his country and others were killed, he was left with no one to pay for his schooling.
Nshimimanna says he barely spoke English at the time and he didn't know what to do. He came to Arizona by bus and found his way to his church, Northminster Presbyterian. It's there that he says he found a loving community that helped him and give him direction through their refugee program.
Now, he says he wants to be a part the country that gave him a second chance.
"I want to be an American because I love this country. Because this country provided what we missed in our country and it restored the hope in us," Nshimimanna said about himself and fellow refugees.
Nshimimanna sought asylum in the U.S. and the loss of his loved ones left him unable to go back.
Since then he's learned English, gotten married, and works two jobs along with volunteering at his church.
His goal is to become an American like the 20 people doing so at Saguaro National Park this Fourth of July.
"Here I feel I'm secure. This country offered us some opportunities to leave and to start again."
The naturalization ceremony at Saguaro National Park starts at 9 a.m.