Independence Day 2015 special to resident

Taken right after the USCIS ceremony, this photo of Guadalupe Madrigales, a native of Mexico, showed him proud of his US citizenship certificate that represented the completion of all the requirements to become an American. His wife Yolanda was present and took the photo. This was the first time that cameras or cell phones were allowed to photograph the occasion in the Oklahoma City Federal Courtroom.

July 4, 2015 was a very special day for Guadalupe Madrigales of Altus. He was able to celebrate the Fourth of July as a new US citizen. He had taken the Oath of Allegiance to become an American citizen at a ceremony on June 26.

The Honorable Judge Robert Bacharach presided at the Oklahoma City Federal Courthouse and welcomed the applicants and their families and friends. He said that the atmosphere in the courtroom usually was very solemn and quiet, but on that occasion, it was to be filled with happiness and celebration. Mr. Bacharach stated, “So many people are born in the United States and don’t realize their gift of citizenship. You honorees have ‘earned’ the title with much study of the English language and civics materials, along with all the time and financial requirements to become citizens.”

A special video was shown of President Obama congratulating the applicants for citizenship. Following that showing, the immigrants recited the oath and were declared US citizens. It was 12:07 p.m., and Guadalupe specifically noted the exact time of the announcement that he had wanted to hear for a long time. American flags were presented to all the 69 new citizens who waved the flags and yelled out “USA”. Then the song “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood was played and created a meaningful atmosphere. As the “Pledge of Allegiance” was cited together by the new citizens, much pride was felt in the room.

When evening came on July 4th came, Guadalupe was eager to “pop” some fireworks as a new citizen. One reason he wanted US citizenship was to be able to vote. On July 8 he received his voter registration card in the mail.

“I am so thankful to the Great Plains Literacy Council for giving me assistance with the process of naturalization,” stated Guadalupe. “My wife and I went in March 2014 to the Altus Public Library to ask for help and tutoring. “ By October he was able to mail in his N-400 application. After two trips to the USCIS Office in Oklahoma City for his fingerprinting and then the test, he passed the final interview session.

Congratulations to Guadalupe Madrigales for reaching his goal. His excitement is contagious as this week he recruited another legal immigrant to start the citizenship path.

Reach Ida Fay Winters at

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