Thirty-nine individuals sworn in to become U.S. Citizens in Gulfport

It was a very emotional and special ceremony at the Dan M. Russell Courthouse this morning.

Gulfport welcomed 39 individuals who have gone through the process to become an American citizen. The individuals went through a lot of paperwork and requirements, which is a very lengthy process to go through, but they made it to the final step as they were presented to the court and sworn in as new citizens.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden loves doing these ceremonies because he takes it personally. “My father was a naturalized citizen. He was an immigrant from Turkey in 1963, always had the dream of coming to the United States and becoming a citizen and realized that dream. Because of that, I’m here. My sister is here. Had he not done that, then I would not be here.”

Flora Margarita Jefferson came from Mexico and has been waiting for this day for almost 20 years. It is a day she and her family will never forget because they have all been working together to get to this point in Jefferson’s life. “I’m very happy. My husband always supports me and my daughter teaches me English. This nation is beautiful. This nation gives me everything. My family first, and being a citizen here is a bit real. Coming through when I came here and then everything was like a movie, like finally I’m here.”

Judge Ozerden says he likes leaving the court room with everyone happy and encourages everyone to at least witness one of the ceremonies since the courthouse is open to the public. “I hope them all the success and happiness that my father had in this country. I hope that they will take their obligations as citizens seriously to, as I mentioned during the ceremony, following the law, voting, serving as jurors. I’m hopeful that they will all do that. I’m confident that they will because I think they certainly appreciate how special American citizenship is.”

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