Dozens Of New Citizens Are Sworn In At Itawamba Community College

ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Federal court comes to Itawamba Community College on Friday, swearing in dozens of new citizens from twenty different countries.

Saturday marks 229 years since America’s Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, and over those years, America has become the land of the free and a place many people want to call home.

This is the first naturalization ceremony to take place at a community college in Mississippi, and it’s a day the new citizens will never forget.

New citizens line the stage holding small American flags, giving their allegiance to their new homeland. It makes their American dream, official.

“It means a lot to the court to be one to host these events, but it means so much to these new citizens. I think you could see after ceremony, when their families came up on stage, and they take photos, and they want photos with the judges because this is such a special day. It’s like their new day of being a new citizen,” says Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Sharion Aycock.

New U.S. citizen, Ruben Burke, was born in Honduras, and came to America when he was six. Now, as an adult and college graduate, his voice can finally be heard.

“There’s a lot of things to consider, and a lot of things to learn about, and really educate myself a little bit more on each candidate’s platform before I really make a decision on that.”

Citizens having the chance to exercise their new voting rights is what made most new citizens feel like true Americans.

“As a U.S. citizen, it is my responsibility to exercise our vote and choose the right person to be our leader,” says Jocelyn Green.

“It’s exciting, I mean it’s nice to participate in, you know, an American election,” says Cristal Bunch.

Immigration laws are a hot topic in the presidential election, and it’s something the new citizens know a lot about.

“I feel like there’s a lot of improvement that could be made. Obviously, there’s a lot of smarter people that know a lot more about those things. I do see some strides being made in different opposing positions. There’s a lot of learning that we can do,” says Burke.

Families fill the audience as they watch their loved ones become Americans, but for one new citizen, her American born and army veteran husband wasn’t there.

“I actually told him that I’m fixing to apply for it, but he doesn’t know I’ve just, I did it because I want to surprise him,” says Shirley May Childers.

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