Faisal AlkadiriFaisal Sidiq Alkadiri, an ABC NewsOne producer, and his wife Zina are now American citizens.

ABC News hired Alkadiri as a translator the day after ABC teams arrived in Baghdad in 2003. “I did six stints in Baghdad and Faisal became a friend as well as a colleague,” says ABC News correspondent David Kerley.

When he decided to leave Iraq for the U.S., ABC’s affiliate news service, NewsOne hired him as a producer in Washington. Kerley helped the family with the immigration process. “When they arrived five years ago I picked them up at the airport and the family spent three weeks with my family,” Kerley tells TVNewser. “We now spend some of the holidays together, and always a couple of pool parties in the summer.”

Alkadiri’s wife and two daughters spoke some English when they arrived. The girls have considered themselves American for a couple years.

Thursday, at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse, Faisal and his wife Zina took the oath. The Federal Judge who administered the naturalization ceremony welcomed the new citizens in several languages, including Arabic,  and shook each of their hands.

“Faisal took a chance on a new, safer life for his family and he is now living the American dream,” Kerley says.