Fifty-two individuals from more than 25 countries assembled Tuesday, July 2, to take the oath of allegiance in New York City. During a naturalization ceremony held at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, they became America’s newest citizens.
Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli was present to administer the oath.
“I am proud to welcome you as our newest American citizens. Congratulations, said Cuccinelli.
“As citizens of this great country, American history is now your history and our American future is yours to help shape. And we expect you to help shape it,” Cuccinelli told the citizenship candidates.
President Donald J. Trump conveyed a congratulatory greeting to the new citizens, in a video message projected on the screen.
Newly minted American citizen Felix Maria Castillo Lachapelle arrived from the Dominican Republic. The 74-year-old retired violinist said he welcomes the benefits of being a U.S. citizen because “now I will have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and I will have democracy that I did not have before,” said Lachapelle.
Family and friends wave American flags as the song ‘God Bless The USA’ by country singer Lee Greenwood Is played to the crowd gathered for the special event.
Fifty-six-year-old Ancilla Alforque Abella from the Philippines talked about how she felt. “I’m so happy for that,” said Abella who did not expect this feeling of happiness. “So, now, I’m really American citizen and so happy about that,” smiled Abella.
Dahsong Kim from South Korea moved to the U.S. with her family when she was six years old. After the ceremony, the 34-year-old lawyer said she is glad to be officially on paper—an American.
“My friends have been saying around me, … ‘Welcome to America.’ Or like, ‘Yay, you’re … legal now’ and I’m like: ‘Well no, I’ve actually been an American this entire time,” enthused Kim.
The 52 individuals for citizenship originated from Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Kosovo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.