KEENE, Calif. (KABC) -- First lady Jill Biden was in Kern County Monday to take part in a naturalization ceremony ahead of Cesar Chavez Day later this week.
Biden joined 31 people from nine countries as they took their U.S. citizenship oath of allegiance at the National Chavez Center in Keene. The event also honored farmworkers.
"Today you are not just Americans, you are Americans by choice," Biden told the new citizens.
Claudia Campos became a U.S. citizen at the ceremony and was once a farmworker. She said she felt joy at the significance of the moment against the backdrop honoring farmworkers.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ur Jaddou honored the president of the United Farm Workers, Teresa Romero, with the "Outstanding National American by Choice" award.
"My immigrant background is why I can uniquely relate to a farm workforce that is now overwhelmingly immigrant, largely undocumented and heavily made up of women," Romero said in her speech.
UFW is calling on the Senate to pass immigration reform and ensure a pathway to citizenship for all farmworkers.
Romero is also calling on elected officials to support policies that benefit farmworkers, including a California bill that would allow them to vote in-person or by mail in union elections.
"What Cesar Chavez would've loved and what would've made him happy is that things were done for farmworkers," Romero said.