Vermont welcomes new citizens

Candidates from 16 different countries gathered together with family and friends at Camp Johnson for a naturalization ceremony, each walking away with a certificate of citizenship. (Photo by Avalon Ashley)

Governor Phil Scott oversaw 35 people from 16 different countries become citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Vt. National Guard base, Camp Johnson.

Kids chased each other around the room waving American flags, while family and friends squeezed in to watch the ceremony. With nearly every seat full, the ceremony began with remarks from the governor, host Brigadier General Gregory Knight with the National Guard, and Judge John M. Conroy. The latter noted that, under the Immigration Act, this public ceremony marked the final step on the road to citizenship.

“I know you’ve worked very hard. You should all be incredibly proud,” Scott said at the ceremony on Aug. 6. “The nation is wrestling with challenging issues. It is an ongoing effort as recent events demonstrate. We still have more work to do and your perspective is needed; your voice is necessary.” Scott further urged candidates to register to vote once they received a certificate of citizenship, pointing to members of the Vermont League of Women Voters in attendance.

“Welcome, not only as your governor, but also as your neighbor,” Scott concluded.

Candidates for citizenship hailed from 16 different countries including Nepal, Germany, Mexico, Canada, and Somalia. As General Knight announced each person’s name, applause rained through the hall and family and friends crowded the front of the room to take pictures. By the end, each citizen stood with a certificate as the audience gave them a standing ovation.

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