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On Feb. 22, just over 1,000 immigrants from 81 different countries gathered at Memorial Auditorium to take the oath of allegiance to become our country's newest citizens. It was, ironically, the same day that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency removed the description of the U.S. as "a nation of immigrants" from its mission statement. We spoke with 15 of the proud new Americans who were sworn in about this milestone moment in their lives and what it meant to them. "I was born today—reborn, actually," said Tunisian native Gaith Ben Younes after the ceremony. "It's something I've been dreaming of for a long time."
Photographs by max whittaker; interviews by tori masucci cummins and jessica rine