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New citizens celebrated Sept. 30

A naturalization ceremony was held Sept. 30 at the Lehigh County Courthouse with the Honorable President Judge Edward D Reibman who presides over the naturalization ceremonies.

There were 16 candidates for naturalization attending representing Belarus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kosovo, Liberia, Syria and Venezuela.

The newest citizens are Razan Abdoush Ajami, Bernard Attipoe, Claribel Burdier, Manuel Altagracia Castillo Medina, Labinot Esati, Mariana Alexandra Hanna, Pearl Hassan, Juhairawati Huri, Olistine Olyboy Maime, Juan Carlos Melendez, Carolin Melissa Minier, Daulyn Alexander Nunez Carpio, Natasha Sedova, Kuljeet Matharu Singh, Marcelenny Velez and Lissette Ventura De Urena.

Only candidates and members of the press were allowed to be in the courtroom due to COVID-19.

There are four ways to obtain U.S. citizenship. They are: citizenship through naturalization, citizenship through marriage, citizenship through parents and citizenship through the military.

Candidates may qualify for naturalization if they are at least 18 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen) and meet all other eligibility requirements.

Once a candidate qualifies for U.S. citizenship, they must submit an application, pay a fee, complete an interview, receive a decision and take an oath of allegiance to the United States.

The oath of allegiance taken by all new citizens states, “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

During the interview, the candidate will take an English and civics test. The English test includes speaking, reading and writing tests.

Sample questions on the civics test include “What did the Declaration of Independence do?” How many U.S. Senators are there? What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president? What is the economic system in the United States? What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States? What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did? Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now? Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States. What happened at the Constitutional Convention? What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen? What did Martin Luther King Jr. do? Name one right only for United States citizens. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

Resources are available for candidates to study.

“We do naturalization ceremonies in Lehigh County for three reasons: First, as a matter of convenience for our new fellow citizens and their family, friends and supporters who otherwise might have to travel to Philadelphia for such an event. Second, to celebrate the culmination of a dream to become a citizen of the United States. And, third, to remind all of us whose relatives came to this country as immigrants, from our earliest history through today, that the story of America is to welcome those individuals seeking a land of economic opportunity and political, religious and personal freedom,” Reiman said.

PRESS PHOTOS BY ETHAN HASSICK The Honorable President Judge Edward D. Reibman presides over the naturalization ceremonies at the Lehigh County Courthouse Sept. 30.
Candidates for naturalization listen to the judge before taking the oath of allegiance.
The newest citizens take the oath of allegiance to the United States Sept. 30.
The newest citizen of the United States receives paperwork from The Honorable President Judge Edward D. Reibman.
A new citizen receives official paperwork from The Honorable President Judge Edward D. Reibman.