Elena Soriano watched proudly as her husband raised his right hand and pledged fidelity to the United States.
Years of living apart and helping him perfect his English ended Tuesday at a naturalization ceremony at the Arlington Convention Center. Mexico native Noe Soriano, 27, was an American citizen.
"I feel a peace of mind," Noe Soriano said, confidently wearing his American and Mexican flags pin on his lapel. "Now I can call myself part of this great nation."
About 500 immigrants representing 68 countries took the oath Tuesday morning, and 500 more did so in the afternoon. The majority of the new citizens at the morning ceremony were from Mexico.
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Noe Soriano worked as a bank cashier in Mexico City while Elena Soriano, 26, already a citizen, lived and worked in Fort Worth. He moved here permanently almost five years ago and learned English at an Irving library. Noe Soriano hopes his new citizenship will help him get an airport-security position.
"I want to do my part and help protect my country," he said, adding that he wants to be a positive role model for his 15-month-old son, David.
"We can show him that we can have loyalty to different countries and love them the same," Noe said.