For some, it may feel like there wasn’t much to celebrate this Independence Day, but for others, it opened up a new world of opportunity.

Across the country, 15,000 people became U.S. citizens in special ceremonies today. Every Fourth of July, the U.S. holds these inductions to swear in new citizens.

This year, more than 65 events were conducted across the country in public places like parks, museums, baseball fields, and even at Monticello, the home of everyone’s least favorite founding father, Thomas Jefferson.

It’s kind of hard to become a U.S. citizen. Immigrants have to live in the United States legally for a minimum of five years, pass a citizenship test, and be near-fluent in English to be inducted as citizens.

California Senator Kamala Harris spoke at one of the events in Los Angeles and discussed the importance of liberty.

“Whenever you feel that future is threatened,” she said, “whenever those values of liberty and justice for all that drew us here seem under assault, you need to speak up and speak out.”

Many people feel she was referencing the most recent travel ban. As a daughter of immigrants, California’s first black senator, and the first Indian American senator ever, it seems likely she was warning against the troubles that could come with anti-immigration and anti-refugee policy.

Welcome to all new citizens of the United States. Hopefully, we can create a brighter picture for the future of our country.