Carlos Santana sworn in as US citizen

April 19th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- For those who were born in the United States, there aren’t many times throughout a given day that just being an American is truly appreciated. But for foreigners like , it’s something that must be earned through hard work, and once it's achieved, it's never taken for granted.

After passing his citizenship test earlier this month, Santana was officially sworn in as a United States citizen at Carl B. Stokes United States Courthouse in downtown Cleveland on Friday morning.

“Feels great,” Santana said. “I feel excited. I’m an American boy now. I’m emotional. I’m excited.”

Santana arrived at the courthouse around 8:20 a.m. with his wife, Brittany, and three kids, Luna (age 1), Savian (3) and David (8). As his two little girls played with their older brother in the hallway outside the room in which the ceremony was held, Santana said he felt some nerves.

“I was really scared when I came here, but now everything is positive,” Santana said. “[A] little bit nervous because of a lot of things. I’m coming from being a Dominican, and now I’m an American.”

The 33-year-old was the only member of the household who was not a U.S. citizen -- his wife and children are from the United States -- and he wanted to change that. When 9 a.m. struck, Santana sat down in the front row of a crowded room as Judge Tom Parker arrived for the presentation for the 84 people who were set to become U.S. citizens on Friday morning.

"Today, the United States of America becomes a stronger nation because you all will become citizens,” Parker said in his opening remarks. “Each of you has made of one the most important decisions you’ll make in your entire life. You’ve chosen to become a citizen of the United States of America.”

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With one daughter on each knee, his son beside him and his wife two seats away, Santana was about to take the oath of allegiance. He then stood up, raised his right hand held high and concluded the oath with a simple “I do” to officially became an American.

“On behalf of the other judges in the court, all of the literally millions and millions of people who are longtime citizens of the United States, I want to congratulate you on this wonderful achievement,” Parker said to the group. “You have taken and passed a test that a lot of adults in the USA may not be able to pass right now. But it’s a great achievement becoming a citizen of the United States, and I want to welcome you to citizenship in this country.”

Santana put in a lot of hours studying for his test, and he waited another few weeks for this moment to arrive. And while he was as happy as he could be when he walked out of the courthouse nearly two hours after he arrived, there was one thing that could make this occasion even better.

“Yeah, I have a game tonight,” Santana said before Friday's series opener was postponed. “I hope I can get a home run for the special day, too.”

But Santana will have to wait one more day.