23 New Citizens Naturalized in Gulfport Wednesday

Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Gulfport, the United States officially welcomed 23 of its newest citizens. Friends and family attended Wednesday’s naturalization ceremony as their loved ones pledged their allegiance to their new home.

The William Carey University Choir serenated America’s newest citizens with a patriotic tune. These immigrants have a unique understanding of what a great privilege it is to be a U.S. citizen. Ray Barria, a naturalized citizen from Panama, says, “Land of opportunities, better life, better future for me.”

The presiding judge for the ceremony, Louis Guirola, welcomed the new citizens. Guirola says, “I congratulate all of you. It is a great day.”

Guirola told them of his own immigrant past. Guirola also says, “My mother and father sat right where you sit today and became naturalized citizens, perhaps from among you, you will have a son or a daughter that will sit right here.”

The process for these men and women to become full-fledged citizens took many of them years. The immigrants swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and while treasuring their new citizenship, they believe many Americans take for granted. Barria, also says, “Absolutely they take it for granted, it’s so better here than a lot of places that they don’t realize how good they have it.”

The long years of work and waiting are finally over for these immigrants as the families officially begin their journeys toward the American dream.

Categories: Local News, News

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