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Pilar Rogers joins others in reciting the oath of allegiance to become American citizens.
Pilar Rogers, second from left, joins others in reciting the oath of allegiance, thus becoming American citizens, during a naturalization ceremony at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Rogers immigrated to the United States from Mexico.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

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Photo of the day: This Is the Place fetes America’s newest citizens

Christmas came early for a group of immigrants who became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Thursday at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.

“Today was a big day, the dream came true,” said Pilar Rogers, who was flanked by 45 other people from 23 countries as she raised her right hand and declared allegiance to her new country.

Rogers moved to the U.S. from Mexico in 2010.

“I had to work really hard. Sometimes I didn’t have any food,” she said of her early days in the U.S. She worked at a Dairy Queen, cleaned houses and picked up whatever odd jobs she could to make ends meet.

Slowly she saved money and enrolled in English classes at Utah Valley University, which helped her get better jobs. In 2012 she attended a singles ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she met her now-husband, Andrew Rogers, who accompanied her at Thursday’s ceremony.

“I am super grateful to be in the United States, in this state of Utah. I love the mountains, I love the snow. ... When I came I was freezing but now I can walk in the snow and love it.”

When asked what being an American meant to her, she said it was about opportunity.

“It’s to change my life, to do better in my life,” Rogers said. “I have more goals to do, and I know I can do it here.”

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