Over 100 people from more than 35 countries, represented by different flags, cultures and systems of government, became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Utah State Capitol on November 30, 2016. The event, hosted by Rep. Norm Thurston in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, was the fifth to be held at the Capitol in the last 12 months.
Though their personal journeys to this day were unique, in unison these individuals took an oath and in a single moment became Americans.
Rep. Eric Hutchings delivered the keynote remarks.
“This is a great day for Utah and America because all of you are now U.S. citizens,” said Rep. Hutchings. “One of the many aspects that make this country exceptional is that every individual, no matter their background, is free to control their destiny as well as take part in shaping the future of this nation.”
Many came from neighboring countries – Canada and Mexico. Others came from across the globe including far away nations of Togo, New Zealand, Ukraine, Eritrea and Bhutan.
This nation isn’t bound together by a single ethnicity, race or religious faith. Instead, this country is defined by our founding principles: that all men are created equal with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“It’s truly an honor to participate in this special moment,” said Rep. Thurston. “I commend those who have chosen to exercise their legal option to become full partners in our community and for completing the hard work to officially become a member of this exceptional nation. Hosting these important ceremonies is becoming a tradition for the House that I hope continues for years to come.”
Angela K. Barrows, district director for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, administered the Oath of Allegiance.
The Rotunda echoed as four Highland High School students sang the national anthem.
Following the ceremony, on-site voter registration was available to encourage the new citizens to be actively engaged in local, state and national matters as well as voice their opinion in future elections.
Congratulations to the new citizens of this great country.
See additional pictures here.