Naturalization ceremony at Mount Rushmore - KOTA Territory News

Naturalization ceremony at Mount Rushmore

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Even though Mount Rushmore will not have fireworks this year, the monument remains a symbol of freedom.

For 158 people from 58 countries, Mount Rushmore is where they took their first steps as United States citizens.

At a ceremony Thursday afternoon, the applicants were sworn in by Chief District Judge Jeffrey Viken.

Having taken the same oath 22 years ago, Qusi Al–Haj says he understands the feeling of many in attendance."What's most rewarding is looking into the faces of the new Americans and recognizing that they understand, probably more than the American born, how great of an opportunity it is and how blessed they are to become citizens of this great nation," said Al-Haj.

One new American citizen was all smiles. "It's great to be an American citizen," said Chera Nemera. "It's long way to get here so we're very glad and we're very honored to be a citizen today."

The naturalization process can take anywhere from five months to more than two years.

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