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Anibal Sanchez proud of new U.S. citizenship

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — For Venezuelan-born Anibal Sanchez, the decision to become an American citizen was motivated by family and practicality, not politics.

“It’s something I’ve waited five years for, I had to be a resident for five years,” said Sanchez, who was granted his citizenship in a ceremony in Miami on Friday. “My wife, she’s American; she’s from Puerto Rico. My daughter was born here. It’s a process that I want.

“I live here. I’m in this country. I just want to be a citizen. I am going to spend the rest of my life here with my family.”

Sanchez took the 100 question citizenship test in Detroit in early February — which he studied hard for, even dropping names like Aaron Burr during the short chat with reporters Saturday morning. He was not nearly as prepared, though, for the emotions of the swearing-in process.

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“It was really hard, sitting on that podium,” he said. “I thought about my first days here and how hard it was to just say I can work in English. I couldn’t order food and all that stuff.”

Sanchez was chosen to give a short speech to the group of new citizens.

“To be there and be able to say a few words to those people — to see all those people’s faces,” he said. “People cried. When you become a citizen, everybody gets different feelings. For some people, it’s really hard to get to that point. For me, the process wasn’t easy. You can see the emotions on their faces.

“I was proud to be their ambassador on that day.”

Twitter @cmccosky