EUGENE, Ore. -- It takes years of meetings, work and studying to become a naturalized US citizen.
A Eugene man spent the last 13 years working to become a citizen, all while pursuing the American dream. Kialing Perez achieved that proud moment Friday when he was sworn in as a citizen of the United States.
“I just feel great … this is the land of opportunity. I want to be able to vote. I want to be able to have my voice heard,” said Perez.
Perez came to the US from Bolivia with just $500 in his pocket. Since that day he’s learned English, got his master's degree and become the medical director for the hyperbaric center at Peacehealth.
“Oh, it’s wonderful,” said Kialing’s wife Sarah. “It's been a really long time. Sometimes it feels
like we've had five lifetimes together."
"We pulled together as a family and we're here, enjoying life and just living it up. The American dream!” said Kialing.
Judge Ann Aiken led the ceremony on Friday, and she said she feels privileged
to have this responsibility.
“It is my delight and privilege to be the first person to say to you… welcome to my fellow Americans!” said Judge Aiken.