Jose Andres finally became a U.S. citizen Wednesday. After 23 years in the United States, the Spanish-born celebrity chef and his wife took the citizenship oath in Baltimore, then tweeted the happy news: “People of America! 4 hours ago my wife and I became AMERICAN CITIZENS. . .thanks to all for being part of our world!”

“I feel like a virgin — in a good way,” he told us Wednesday night. During the ceremony, he said, “me and my wife began crying. I wish more people were able to see this. It’s very powerful.”

Andres said he plans several celebrations over the next few weeks to mark his new status: “It’s very important because the country is talking about immigration reform. I need to make sure everybody understands that many immigrants like me — given the right opportunity like I was given — we can have a positive impact in this amazing country.”

Read earlier: Reliable Source: José Andrés to become U.S. citizen soon, regardless of shutdown. (Plus: free sandwiches)

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