RENO, NV - Fourteen children of immigrants from seven different countries raised their right hands at a Reno school and took the oath as newly-minted American citizens Thursday afternoon.
The youngest among them was nine year-old Hyacinth Aliso, brought to this country by her parents Marcia and Carmelo six years ago.
The Alisos took a roundabout journey to get to the states, leaving their native Phillipines for work in Saudi Arabia, Ireland and finally the US. Today Marcia and Carmelo work at Reno hospitals.
Under US law their daughter has been recognized as a citizen ever since her parents took the step, but immigration officials say questions and difficulties still arise for the children of naturalized citizens who don't have the documentation to prove their status.
That step was taken care of today. After raising their right hands and pledging fealty to this country they left with paperwork telling the world they were now US citizens.
It was, however, more than a practical exercise today. It was a moment of pride.
Standing by herself, clutching an American flag, Hyacinth, recited the pledge with obvious pride.
"I"m pleased to be an American citizen," she said afterward.
Did it feel any different?
"Kind of," was the answer.
Her parents were beaming. "I'm so proud," said Marcia Aliso. "With all the opportunity before us it's been a long way, especially for my daughter."
Marcia Aliso says she tells Hyacinth hard work means success in this country. Her daughter is apparently listening. She's a honor student at Little Flower School.