VENTURA, Calif. - More than 50 children and young adults became U.S. citizens during early Independence Day celebrations at Channel Islands National Park in the Ventura Harbor on Friday.
Yaquelin Suarez Guzman,19, and her sister ,Teresa Suarez Guzman,22, of Santa Maria were among them.
They daughters of a local farm worker were born in Oazaca, Mexico.
They have lived in the United States for 12 years without the benefit of citizenship.
Teresa said she hopes this will bring more respect and opportunities.
Yaquelin is studying art at Alan Hancock College, while her sister works in the healthcare.
National Park Service Field Office Director Joseph Hackbarth said the children should thank their parents for the day.
Some of the children were adopted, while others became citizens along with their naturalized parents.
They included children from 19 countries including Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Israel, Belarus, Pakistan, Honduras, India, Uganda, Bangladesh, Iran, Venezuela Cuba, Dominican Republic, Russia, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Columbia and China.
Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau reminded the new citizens that the parks belong to them.
The ceremony ended with a live broadcast of a NPS Ranger scuba diver congratulating them during a dive off the coast.