Nearly 1,000 Take Citizenship Oath in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO -- Larraine Rapolla celebrated a big moment with her family Wednesday. After living 31 years in the US, she's now a citizen.

She moved from the Philippines to Sacramento with her mother when she was a teenager.

Now a mother of three kids, she says this step is about family.

"I'm really excited and happy because my kids were actually the ones that wanted me to become a U.S. citizen," Rapolla said.

Her 11-year-old, Lucas, even helped her study for the citizenship test.

"We put the CD in our car and we did the 100 questions together," Lucas said. "We were practicing the whole time until she took the test."

But his goal of wanting his mom to become a citizen came out of fear, too.

"I think it's important because so then my mom doesn't have to leave the country or because we don't have to separated from each other," Lucas said.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

"The American dream is alive and well," he said during the ceremony.

As a child of immigrants from Mexico, Padilla says citizenship ceremonies will always hold a special place in his heart.

"For me, personally, these ceremonies are personal, emotional and they are just so special because I can relate," he said.

Wednesday, 998 people took the oath. For Padilla, each ceremony is a reminder of what the US stands for.

"There is a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of questions and I think as people become citizens, for me it's a reminder to the rest of us that this is truly the history of our country," Padilla said.

And for the Rapolla family, it's an honor to be proud of.