Jul 4, 2014 5:45 PM by Lauren Reimer

Newly naturalized Tucsonans celebrate first 4th of July as citizens

TUCSON - Immigrants who enter the country legally and try to become citizens often wait for years to complete the process.

It's been 18 years since Vadim Pivniouk and his wife Oksana moved here from Russia. They knew right away they wanted to become citizens, so they sent in their paperwork. Years went by. The couple earned their degrees, got good jobs, and started a family.

"We came here on J-Visa, then we were on H-Visa, finally we got the green card after many many years," said Vadim.

The only thing they were missing was U.S. citizenship.

Vadim's wait ended today, on Independence Day, at a Naturalization Ceremony at Saguaro National Park.

"It's such a special day in our country and it celebrated the adoption of the declaration of independence by the continental congress," said Judge Bruce Macdonald

"I'm very proud that my dad has a PHD in the Bio-5 and also is now a U.S. citizen, and I'm very proud and happy that he is," said Vadim's youngest son, Alex.

Alex was born here. That means his mom, Oksana, is the last of the three to get her citizenship.

"I'm almost a U.S. citizen. I really envy Vadim because he somehow got his first. We did every step at the same time. Somehow they separated us," she said.

The family's oldest son's application is still being processed too.

In all, 20 people from 20 different countries became U.S. citizens at the ceremony.


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