New Citizens Welcomed at Naturalization Ceremonies

At a naturalization ceremony in Omaha, Neb., on July 15, 50 new citizens were welcomed at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, according to The Omaha World Herald. The newly inaugurated citizens then filed out voter registration forms after the ceremony. Another task for the new citizens is to adapt to American culture.

“Today is a great day for us,” Iraqi immigrant Mohammed Alhamandani told the World Herald. “We feel it’s the first time ever that we belong somewhere. That we have a country. That we have a community. That we have something we’re attached to.”

People from 25 countries including Canada, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mexico, Romania and Thailand were introduced as citizens and recited a 140-word oath allegiance stating their loyalty to the U.S. According to the World Herald, the new citizens also renounced allegiances to any foreign state, pledged to support and defend the Constitution and nation’s laws, and to serve in military and civilian roles when necessary.

There are between 1,600 and 2,800 people who become citizens in Nebraska each year, the source reported. In 2012, there were approximately 757,500 people naturalized as citizens in the U.S. Most of those new citizens came from Mexico, the Philippines, India, the Dominican Republic and China.

New Citizens Welcomed in Illinois
About 45 new citizens were also welcomed at a naturalization ceremony in Elgin, Ill., on July 10. According to the Daily Herald, immigrants from India, Iraq, France, Laos and Peru received their U.S. citizenship at the ceremony.

The source said that most of those who participated in the ceremony took citizenship and English classes to learn about the U.S. and to speak the English language. Elgin resident Christelle Dabondons came from Laos in 2001 and learned to speak English at the YWCA Elgin.

“I wanted to get American nationality because I said that if I am going to stay in this country for life, I should know well the American constitution in order to live in harmony,” Dabondons told the Daily Herald.