Seattle city leaders hosted a naturalization ceremony Thursday to highlight a new effort to help immigrants on their path toward citizenship.

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Mickey McAloon’s welcome home to the U.S. after every international flight felt different from his wife’s and kid’s. They were U.S. citizens, a title the 50-year-old native of Ireland had yet to gain.

It was during those first moments back on American soil, when airport attendants would greet “citizens,” McAloon would think:

“I want that welcome home.”

Citizenship by the numbers:

• 1/5 Seattle residents are foreign-born

• 9,000-9,500 King County legal permanent residents were naturalized each year between 2010 and 2013

•12,000-13,000 King County residents between 2010 and 2013 became legal permanent residents each year

• About 50 percent of the nation’s 8.8 million legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship qualify as low income

Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

McAloon made his Seattle home of 25 years official at City Hall Thursday afternoon alongside nine other new Americans native to countries such as Iraq, France and Somalia.

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and federal officials presided over their naturalization ceremony and used the occasion to promote a new effort for improving local immigrants’ access to information for becoming official Americans.

“How disappointing it is,” Murray said, “that we have people who are building our country, fighting in our wars, and are not on the legal path toward citizenship.”

The city, in tandem with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, unveiled new community-center kiosks, or “citizenship corners,” and a web portal that stores resources to help immigrants learn English or understand the application process, for instance.

The local effort is one of dozens across the country this week as part of a national movement to promote citizenship and celebrate Thursday’s Citizenship Day, the day that commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution and people who have become citizens.

About 55 percent of the state’s legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship live in the Seattle-King County area, according to the city’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

“[There are] people who work here, whose families are here, and [they’re] living in the shadows. While this doesn’t directly address that, it’s another statement, in our part, that we want to address this,” Murray said.

Office Director Cuc Vu said the process can seem daunting. Aspiring U.S. citizens sometimes face barriers when it comes to paying the $680 application fees, for example, or carving out time to fine-tune the language, she said.

The office estimates that more than 50 percent of the legal permanent residents in the area who are eligible for citizenship are low-income, a prediction modeled after national data.

Seattle community centers that are expected to get kiosks:

–Lake City Neighborhood Service Center

—Southeast Neighborhood Service Center

—University Neighborhood Service Center

—City Hall Customer Service Bureau

—Rainier Community Center

—Van Asselt Community Center

—South Park Community Center

—Bitter Lake Community Center

—Jefferson Community Center”

Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

And for some foreign-born people, Vu said, the title may not seem worth the effort.

“Not everyone understands the benefits of citizenship,” she said. “I think in some cases, because they’ve got their jobs, their families, [they] don’t really think that it applies to their everyday life.”

But with resources like the new “citizenship corners,” which the office hopes to install in nine community centers across Seattle, she said the city is making progress in offering support.

Thursday’s ceremony was emotional for the group sworn in and the audience of family members, who, for the first time, recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” together as American citizens.

“You go to ballgames, and you hear the national anthems,” McAloon said. “That’s when you think about it.”