Many Nationalities Become One

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TAMPA -

They came to the naturalization ceremony as immigrants from 35 countries... and left as citizens of one.

Kathy Redman is in charge of the Tampa office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

She says many immigrants become citizens so they can vote.

REDMAN: Usually during an election year we'll get a lot more people, because they realize if I want to have a voice in our government, then I have to become a U.S. citizen.

Former Venezuelan Jaime Sanchez is one of the new Americans who appreciates the power of the ballot.

SANCHEZ: We've seen in the last few elections, in different elections, local and countrywide, that every vote counts. So, I wanted to be a part of it.

About 43,000 Florida residents became U.S. citizens last year.

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