SACRAMENTO -- Six hundred people from 70 different countries came together Wednesday to become American citizens.
Everyone at the naturalization ceremony has lived in the U.S. legally for at least three years, but even their time in the country has been as diverse as their backgrounds.
Originally from Tijuana, Refugio Acosta says in his three decades in this country he didn’t feel compelled to graduate from legal resident to citizen until last year.
"Lately, I don’t feel too much freedom, that’s why I decided to become a citizen to have more rights," Acosta said. "At the same time, you have more responsibilities to be a citizen, but I like it and I want to be part of that."
Acosta said his motivation was being able to vote.
It’s not lost on Acosta that the day he is able to officially have a say in the way the U.S. government works, the government isn’t working particularly well.
The root issue behind the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history is the same reason for Wednesday's event -- immigration.
"(President Trump) is trying to protect U.S. citizens, you know, but at the same time you go too extreme," Acosta said.
But despite Acosta's frustration over a stalled government, he says he respects the separation of powers and even sees some value in divided government. But he thinks current leaders should do better.
"I want to see things change in favor of the people," he said.