TAMPA, Fla. — Every year, more than 600,000 people take the oath to become U.S. citizens.
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In April, Marco Notarianni was one of them.
Notarianni is an engineering manager for the Tampa-based company Plasma Therm.
"At the end of the day, we all are here for the same dreams. We're here for the same goals," Notarianni said.
Born in Italy, Notarianni came to the U.S. for school about 10 years ago. He later married, had children, and then applied to become a permanent resident.
His wife sponsored him. They struggled to complete the process on their own.
"We could read and understand," Notarianni said. "But still there were a lot of gaps that we were not sure that we were doing the right thing or not."
It took about two months just for them to fill out the paperwork. Then, it took about six more months to get through the interview process and be approved for a green card.
"It was challenging," Notarianni said. "It wasn't straight forward. I have to be honest."
So challenging, that when Notarianni decided to move forward to become a U.S. citizen, he hired a lawyer.
"In general, I think the whole process has taken a harder line," said immigration attorney Anasol Roldan.
Roldan has focused on immigration cases for years and she has seen the pitfalls, even in the most typical of cases.
"Sometimes, something as simple as not reporting a speeding ticket can be an issue," Roldan said.
For Notarianni, going from green card holder to U.S. citizen took another four months.
And while the road wasn't always easy, he said he is proud to be an American.