'For my family' - Dozens of immigrants take part in naturalization ceremony in Chattanooga

The naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse in Chattanooga. (Image: WTVC)

About 100 people became United States citizens at the federal courthouse in Chattanooga Friday.

It's a rigorous process that takes years, even decades for some.

"It was a rocky road but we are finally citizens," Julius Habiyaremye said.

Julius and his sister Sylvia Iradukunda both took part in the naturalization ceremony.

"This day is special because we have actually become a United States citizen and we are now able to vote and express our freedom of speech," Iradukunda said.

They came here as immigrants from Rwanda five years ago, looking for a better life.

They are both graduating from the University of Tennessee Knoxville this year.

For Pedro Brena, the path to citizenship took 19 years.

We were there as he received his citizenship certificate.

Pedro's wife and kids came to show their support.

"More opportunities and just to be able to live without worrying about anything," Shannon Brena said.

"Everything is for my family," Pedro Brena said.

Judge Christopher Steger offered an encouraging message for Pedro and his fellow Americans.

"Through your perseverance you've demonstrated to us what kind of citizens you're going to be so thank you."

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