Wednesday, September 9, 37 immigrants were sworn in as United States citizens at a naturalization ceremony in Yellowstone National Park.
The Honorable Mark L. Carman, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming, presided over the ceremony at the base of the Mammoth Hot Springs terraces.
The naturalization ceremony, with family and friends in the audience, consisted of a mounted color guard, an a cappella rendition of the national anthem by National Park Service ranger Michael Breis, and a taped address from President Barack Obama.
Speakers at the naturalization ceremony included Depty Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Lori Scialabba, Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Steve Iobst, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Pico. A representative of United States Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Sara Thane, also delivered remarks, on behalf of Tester.
“Yellowstone National Park is proud to host the naturalization ceremony because national parks are places that belong to every American citizen. We invite our newest citizens to visit, to learn, to volunteer, and to have fun in our national parks. National parks have been called ‘America’s Best Idea’, and all citizens should learn about the shared heritage and shared stories that have been preserved for future generations,” said Deputy Superintendent Iobst at the ceremony.
Naturalization is the process by which foreign citizens obtain U.S. citizenship, following the requirements laid forth by Congress. After naturalization, foreign-born citizens are given nearly the same rights and benefits given natural-born U.S. citizens. An estimated 655,000 immigrants were naturalized in fiscal year 2014.
The 37 immigrants honored in the Yellowstone naturalization ceremony, who were no living in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, hailed from 22 different countries: Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia, Ecuador, Germany, Guyana, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, the Philippines, Romania, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.