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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Twenty-nine immigrants became official United States citizens on Monday during a Naturalization Ceremony in Columbia.

The group represented more than a dozen countries and went through a lengthy process of paperwork and testing in order to gain citizenship.

"It's so long and they require a bunch of papers, but everything about it makes sense," said Egypt native Mohamed Abd El Gabbar. "They want to know who are you? Why did you fight for this paper?"

As official citizens, Abd El Gabbar and the rest of the group can now vote and petition to bring other family members over.

"It means I'm worth something," said fellow Egypt native Mohamed Hassan. "Right now I can vote, I can do things that before I wasn't able, so it means a lot. It means I'm important in this society."

Though lengthy, all of the members say the freedom that America holds was well worth the wait.

"We experienced a lot of hardship in my country, so it was nice to know that this country is Christian and I can talk about God anywhere I want to and be proud of it," said Ukranian born Nadia Pakhnyuk.

Married couple Heide and Horst Klausing immigrated from Germany nearly 40 years ago, but say the true citizenship is still overwhelming, and they look forward to spending the rest of their lives in their official home.

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