INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just like 33 drivers take the green flag in the Indianapolis 500, 33 people on Tuesday took the green flag to become U.S. citizens.
It was the first time a naturalization ceremony has happened at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Cristian Ramirez said, “The whole experience was amazing.”
Dozens of immigrants representing 18 different countries — including China, Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti and Nigeria — took an oath and became naturalized citizens of the United States while surrounded by loved ones, race fans, and community leaders.
Ramirez, a Bloomington resident, said, “This is the land of the dreams, so we’ve got to achieve those dreams and that’s what we are about here.”
Ramirez says he moved from Mexico to Indiana in search of a better life, “It is a really tough process, a long, long, process. It took five years to be here, but we finally made it and we are really proud to be American citizens now.”
Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said, “Our 2018 Indy 500 winner was born in Australia and in January of 2019 he did just what you guys did and Will Power became a naturalized U.S. citizen. We’re so proud of the opportunity to host you here today. We’re so proud of each of you and we are looking forward to helping you along the way.”
Lexy Funes, an Indianapolis resident, moved from El Salvador to the United States years ago. Funes says becoming a citizen was a long process, but one that was worth the wait. “I waited almost 10 years for this process, but I did it. Finally, I did.”