Meet 3 of the 30 New U.S. Citizens Sworn in at the Park on Thursday

This Thursday Four Freedoms Park hosted its first-ever naturalization ceremony in honor of Veterans Day. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted the ceremony in which 30 candidates from 25 different countries officially became citizens of the United States. Read about the ceremony here. Read Ambassador vanden Heuvel's speech here

After the ceremony we spoke to a few recently sworn in American citizens. Meet Christopher Manual Jeffry, Ingrid Eichenbaum and Katiuska Castanos:

What is your name?

Christopher Manuel Jeffry

Where are you originally from?

The Dominican Republic.

What was the process like for receiving your citizenship?

They expedite applications for military members so I actually didn't wait very long - maybe three or four months - compared to some people you hear that they're waiting three, four or five years. So, that wasn't that bad.

Where did you serve while on active duty?

I've been in the Marine Corps for 2 years. I went to Parris Island, South Carolina and then I went to Okinawa, Japan, then I went to California and then my wife and I had twins so now I'm in the Army Reserve.

And your wife lives here in New York City?

Yes, we live on the Upper East Side. 

Is she a U.S. citizen?

Yes, she was born in Florida.

So, this is a big day for both of you!

Yes! She was planning on coming out with the babies, but with the rain, it was a little rough so I had to weather it by myself. 

How old are your twins?

They are going to be one year old on the 23rd of this month.

What is your name?

Ingrid Eichenbaum

Where do you hail from?

I'm originally from Austria.

How long has the process of becoming a United State citizen taken?

Actually, it was very fast!... I've actually been here for quite a while so, I feel a little guilty about this, I should have done it a long time ago. I had Austrian citizenship (which made me a citizen of the  European Union).

And my father is one hundred years old and he still lives in Austria. He was in the Second World War and he's still alive! I gave him the news last week, but I don't think he quite got it, so I will try again maybe tomorrow morning and remind him that he has an American citizen as his daughter!

How does it feel to be an American?

I am very happy to be an American citizen now! My husband, who I married nearly eight years ago, is an American. 

I must say that when you see what is happening around the world, [you realize] how lucky you are in America with all the opportunities. Just going to stores to be able to shop for anything you want, it's just amazing. We're very fortunate - all of us - to be here in the United States of America.

The opportunities are still the best here and I think the American dream is still alive and well.

What is your husband's name?

Joseph Eichenbaum

Where do you two live?

We live in Manhattan.

What is your name?

Katiuska Castanos

Where are you originally from?

I'm from the Dominican Republic.

Did your family join you today?

Yes, this is my aunt and my son.

Do you live in New York?

I live in the Bronx.

How long have you lived in the Bronx?

Fourteen years.

So, it's taken a long time!



Thank you.