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Each year, more than 600,000 immigrants become American citizens, taking a journey that begins with a dream and a decision.

“They’re here because they want to become citizens,” says Lucia Jaccaci, who teaches a free course offered by the Immigrants Assistance Center in New Bedford. “A lot of our clients here are coming in after work. They’re building this into an already incredibly busy schedule and day.”

Nearly 1 million immigrants passed the test last year, answering at least six of the 10 randomly chosen questions from a pool of 100, covering American history, civics, and government.

The Immigrants Assistance Center saw triple the number of applications over the past two years and as a result, now offers free courses to assist applicants in preparing for the exam.

Freedom. Stability. Family. The reasons for wanting to become a citizen are many.

“I just hope as a nation that we can work through political differences in a way to continue to support immigrants to this country,” says Jaccaci “That was what we’re all about. People can come and contribute and grow and thrive here and get something from being an American citizen. But in the process they end up making us a better country.”

Email Eleonora Bianchi at

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