Utica, NY (WIBX) - The United States welcomed 23 new Americans during the naturalization ceremony held at the County Office Building in Utica today. The new citizens came from many parts of the world including, Haiti, Cuba, Bosnia, The Philippines and Burma.

Oneida County Clerk Sandra DePerno says they all had to undergo a rigorous process to make it to this point. "It takes them basically anywhere from 6 months to a year. To become citizens they have to learn to speak the language, they have to able to read and write American history, everything that we take for granted they have to learn. It's a very in depth process," she said.

Wenifredo Peregrino Maglana, whose originally from The Philippines, works as an Emergency Room Doctor at Rome Memorial Hospital. He says he's lived in the U.S. for 35 years, and recently decided to apply for citizenship because he wanted to vote and help determine the course of this country. When asked if he had a message for those applying for citizenship, he says his message is more for those who were born American citizens saying, "Many of them are not aware of the greatness of this country, the fact that this is the only country I can recall that everything was born based on principles that are so unique and so truthful and so strong, you know, a country for the people, by the people of the people, the rule of the laws, the whole principles that under pins this country. I'm talking about the young people who don't seem to appreciate what this country really is." Maglana says those who apply for citizenship choose to become a part of this country.

Lakadar Sueklane Htay is a native Karen from Burma and says he feels really good about becoming an American citizen. Htay whose cousin, Mimi assisted him as a translator says he relocated to the U.S. as a refugee after some time at a refugee camp.