(CBS) – Nearly five dozen newly sworn U.S. citizens took their oath in Daley Plaza Friday.
Among them: Dorival Simoes from Brazil, who’s been a green card holder for 20 years.
“It’s a very moving day for me,” he tells CBS 2’s Mai Martinez.
It was also a moving day for his wife, Amy, and their 9-year-old son, Sam, who feared — given things he’s seen on television — his father might be deported.
“We had to reassure him a little bit,” Amy says.
Sam says he feels better now, after Friday’s ceremony.
Many of the new citizens say they’re looking forward to voting. In fact, after being sworn in, several headed right over to a voter registration booth.
“The line is long as we speak because they, too, want to take part in the American Dream,” Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, whose office handles some voter registration duties, says.
Izzet Aziz says that’s why she came to the U.S. from china five years ago, but she’s saddened that the view of immigrants seems to be changing in the current political climate.
“They’re going to feel much better if my voice can be heard and if I can vote,” she says.
Simoes also feels he can be a voice for others.
“Once you become a citizen, it’s more like you have a stake in the country. It’s part of you, part of who you are,” he says.
Since naturalization ceremonies generally take place in courtrooms, Daley Plaza was designated a federal courtroom for Friday’s event.