Naturalization ceremonies, where people are officially sworn in as new US citizens, take on a particular meaning during the 4th of July. This year, US Citizenship and Immigration Services conducted 100 naturalization ceremonies throughout the week leading up to the 4th — and swore in almost 9,000 new citizens.
Many of the new citizens sworn in were members of the armed forces, who can receive citizenship more quickly than they otherwise would as a reward for their service. But for at least one immigrant who was naturalized last week, it was the other way around: a US immigration officer protected him.
Daniel Cineus is a 76-year-old Haitian-born immigrant who has lived in the US since 1980, picking oranges in South Florida and cleaning hotels in Orlando. He decided to become a citizen in 2010, realizing that he wanted to stay in the United States for the rest of his life with his naturalized-citizen children and 19 grandchildren. But in March of this year, he went in to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Orlando for his final interview — and collapsed in the waiting room.
An immigration officer named Jose Santiago happened to be walking by at the time, and was able to issue CPR — resuscitating Cineus after five breaths. The officers then called 911 and rushed Cineus to the hospital; he underwent surgery, but is fully recovered.
At his naturalization ceremony last Friday, Cineus told the Orlando Sentinel he was feeling "fabulous." Not only was he sworn in as a new citizen, but he saw Santiago for the first time since the immigration officer saved his life.
"I love to see my friend, my brother. I don't know what I owe you," he said after the naturalization ceremony.
Most of the immigrants sworn in this past week didn't have such dramatic paths to citizenship, but the #newUScitizen hashtag on Twitter displayed a lot of pride: