TODAY

TODAY   |  July 04, 2013

New Americans to become citizens at Monticello

Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, is the backdrop for a group of four new Americans to officially become citizens of their adopted country. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports on their roads to the American dream.

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>>> has now been added to google street view . later this morning, the estate will host a ceremony to welcome some of our country's newest citizens. n nbc's peter alexander has their stories.

>> reporter: happy 4th of july from here in the nation's capital. the immigration debate has gal vanized attention around the country right now. for a moment we wanted a chance to welcome new americans , new citizens being naturalized, 7,800 of them in independence day celebrations from bagram air field in afghanistan to, as you noted, thomas jefferson 's home in virginia. four new americans from four corners of the globe.

>> i'm jasmine, and i'm an american.

>> i'm tim, and i'm an american.

>> i'm sole dad, and i'm an american.

>> i'm hirohi, and i'm an american.

>> reporter: at her studio in charlottesville, virginia, hiromi johnson teached tai chi from her home. the japanese coastal city was erased from the map when a wave of water tore through it two years ago. america is now hiromi's only home.

>> i felt like i lost my ancestral place because kushima was erased.

>> reporter: writer and professor jasmine was born in iran, her family ripped away from her home when she was just 5, starting anew in california, but always mindful of their iranian past.

>> every year we hoped we could go back. we left, of course, because of the revolution.

>> reporter: three decades later, a new generation of revolutions in the middle east inspired jasmine to become a u.s. citizen .

>> i have such a keen sense of the struggles people around the world endure to acquire human rights and social justice , and it seemed to me important to acquire a public voice in america.

>> reporter: filmmaker soledad liendo from argentina wanted the right to vote in her adopted country.

>> elections were like, okay, i need to be part of this.

>> oh, wow, that's really impressive.

>> reporter: cancer researcher tim bollic of britain, citizenship offered something even simpler.

>> my children said to me, why aren't you an american, dad? i'm like i can't answer that question anymore.

>> reporter: the iconic american back drop for their naturalization, the iconic home of thomas jefferson . for soledad, a natural choice.

>> as a little girl , i dreamed of having a big wedding.

>> reporter: their diverse histories now united this 4th of july . new americans ready to embrace their role as citizens in whatever form that may take.

>> jury duty.

>> reporter: jury duty. a sense of humor also doesn't hurt, by the way. they're going to have a great opening act during the naturalization ceremony in monticello. dave matthews , himself a naturalized u.s. citizen in 1980 , will be the keynote speaker . have a great 4th of