New U.S. citizens discuss Trump immigration policy at naturalization ceremony


PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WRGB) - A group of immigrants just became U.S. citizens today in the Berkshires, some of whom have been waiting decades for the special moment.

The Berkshire Immigrant Center says Western Massachusetts has become a mecca for immigrant families. As President Trump heads to our area next week, we spoke to new citizens about immigration policy.

A group of 23 officially became American at none other than the Norman Rockwell Museum.

“We think it’s a wonderful setting to invite new immigrants and their families into this country.”

Berkshire Immigrant Center Director Brooke Mead says Friday’s naturalization ceremony is a signal of what's happening in Berkshire County.

She says the fastest growing sector of the population there is the immigrant population.

“Immigrants are really important in the Berkshires. They are the only growing segment of the workforce. They are the only growing segment of the population,” Mead said.

For Freddy Chandra, the moment has been more than two decades in the making.

“It’s been a very long process. I came to America in January 1995, so it’s been 23 years,” Chandra said.

With issues like family separation dominating headlines, CBS6 asked a number of new citizens their stance on President Trump's immigration policy.

“I think that we need to be humane, that’s all I will say about it,” Chandra said.

Canadian immigrant Kristin Van Gin Hoven said she decided to become a citizen in order to make her voice heard.

“I am someone who believes that the future depends on immigrants. One of the reasons I became a citizen is that I could vote people in with my beliefs, so that everyone has a place here,” Van Gin Hoven said.

President Trump is expected in Upstate New York Monday to campaign for Rep. Elise Stefanik and and Rep. Claudia Tenney.

CBS6 will have full coverage of his appearance Monday.

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