LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were celebrated Thursday and every Independence Day. For some Louisvillians, Thursday will have an even bigger significance; their first as American citizens.

What You Need To Know

  • Thirty-seven immigrants became American citizens on July 4

  • The new citizens represented 17 different countries, from Rwanda to Mexico 

  • Citizens took the naturalization oath and could register to vote 

  • So far, in 2024, the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services has welcomed 589,400 new citizens

Thirty-seven people were naturalized as United States citizens and are now in pursuit of their own American dream. In a special ceremony, Marcela Marquez and 36 other immigrants became naturalized as United States citizens.

“I am happy to be an American because it’s an opportunity to make everything different,” Marquez said.

Marquez came to America seven years ago from Mexico for work. She’s been in Louisville for four years. Thursday was the culmination of Marquez’s eight-month process to citizenship.

“If you want a good life, you have to come to America because you have everything, opportunities. If you work hard, you will get everything,” Marquez said.

Thirty-seven people from 17 different countries, now celebrating their American citizenship. Pamela Mugisha came to the States in 2019 from Rwanda on a green card.

“It’s going to be a big opportunity for me and my family. It’s a big dream, really,” Mugisha said.

Mugisha said she’s happy and proud to call herself a citizen of the United States.

“It’s also special for me because my husband and my child also are going to become citizens, so a country we all love,” Mugisha said.

Rep. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, addressed the crowd of new citizens at the ceremony. He said Thursday is a reminder of what it means to be an American.

“As we celebrate our past today, a ceremony like this shows our future,” McGarvey said. “It shows how we continue to grow and how we continue to maintain the promise that America, the idea of America, where people want to be and want to come so they have those rights guaranteed under law it is still going strong.”

So far, in 2024, the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services has welcomed 589,400 new citizens.