First naturalization ceremony post-COVID excites new citizens

West Virginia

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – There were lots of laughs, applause and excitement at the U.S Federal District Court in Clarksburg on Friday morning.

That’s not something that always happens in courtrooms, but it does when there 20 new citizens being naturalized. The ceremony was the first to happen since the start of the pandemic, and new citizens were excited to see it take place.

“So amazing. Just seeing everyone’s face and everyone’s so proud. Seeing the different places everyone comes from, it’s definitely amazing to see.”

Elizabeth Marroquin, New US Citizen

US Federal Judge Thomas Kleeh approved the motion to grant their citizenship. President Joe Biden followed up with a special message. Guest speaker, U.S Senator Shelley Moore Capito, pointed out the opportunities that the US offers to new citizens.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito hands a certificate to a new US citizen

“Well, I think it’s just amazing to see 20 new people, 20 new citizens from 14 different countries, and they want to come here because they know this is the land of opportunity,” said Sen. Capito.

Some have been waiting awhile for this day to come.

“Because of the pandemic, my ceremony was delayed for almost like, about 2 years, over a year, so all of the process was delayed. So, it was very nice to finally get to do it.”

Anna Vladimirovna Pugh, New US Citizen

Some have been working towards this for many years.

“I’ve actually been a resident for a really long time and didn’t start the process until later on, but, nonetheless, I’m still proud,” said Marroquin.

“But today, you know, seeing people around, that makes it more special.”

Joesph Akinade, New US Citizen

But, for all of these new citizens, today is a landmark day.

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