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197 Immigrants Become US Citizens

197 Immigrants from 46 Countries Become US Citizens in Kansas City

By: Terra Hall


Posted: 5:20 PM, Mar 2, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Normally, the Nelson-Atkins Museum is filled with art from all over the world, but on Thursday it was filled with immigrants from all over the world as 197 people from 46 nations pledged their allegiance to America.

“South Africa is part of my heritage. Africa is in my blood. I love that place,” said Ricky Catto, who is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Catto married his wife Whitney nearly four years ago and has since been working towards citizenship.

“I’m really glad to be an American today because I get to be part of the citizen that makes this country great,” he said. “I get to vote. And I get to phone my senator and representatives.”

Ricky and Whitney said of all the places they traveled and could call home, they choose Kansas City because of the way it welcomes them, and all of the others in this room, with open arms and open hearts.

“It’s my favorite thing about America is that we are from so many different places and that we represent every country,” said Whitney. “We are a great melting pot, and it’s really great to celebrate all of the cultural diversity and differences we encompass here.”

Becoming an American citizen is quite costly and can take years, and in some cases more than a decade.

“We had a lawyer every step of the day and between the legal fees and the filing fees, it’s expensive,” said Ricky. “It’s worth it though. It’s a privilege. It’s really something to work towards. I understand when you are born with it as a right, you don’t get the gravity of it so much, but the amount of work and paperwork and process we have been through, it really makes this very rewarding.”


Terra Hall can be reached at terra.hall@kshb.com.