The Ozarks welcomes 60 new citizens in naturalization ceremony

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 3:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri held a naturalization ceremony Wednesday at Missouri State University.

Abdul Muhammed is one of the 60 applicants from 31 countries becoming a United States citizen today.

“Amazing,” Muhammed says. “That’s the one word I have. Amazing. I feel great.”

For Muhammed, it was a lot of work. However, he says it was all worth it.

“It’s a big relief and it’s amazing,” Muhammed says. “It’s a great feeling and I feel honored to be here.”

Muhammed is from Nigeria and says becoming an American citizen has been a long, but rewarding journey.

Coming from a third world country, Muhammed says he feels privileged to be in the U.S.

“Chaos out there,” Muhammed says. “It’s a beautiful continent, but things are not so well in place so for me personally, I came here for greener pastures.”

United States District Court Judge, Honorable M. Douglas Harpool, says this is something all American citizens need to keep in mind.

“We can be reminded of how precious citizenship is,” Honorable M. Douglas Harpool says. “We can rededicate ourselves to the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship.”

Shivani Patel and her parents all became citizens Wednesday morning after moving here from India.

For their family, this is a goal they were hoping to achieve and are so thankful the day has finally come.

“I wanna make America proud as well and bring my knowledge into the American world,” Shivani Patel says.

Shweta Patel says process includes studying United States history, showing good reading and writing skills, being interviewed, and passing an exam.

Shweta Patel also immigrated from India and says she is ecstatic. However, she says the journey isn’t over for her family just yet.

“I’m happy,” Shweta Patel says. “I’m gonna get to file for my parents.”

For Muhammed, the people in southwest Missouri have been nothing but welcoming.

“They accept me for who I am and they’re curious about where I’m from so they ask me a lot of questions about Africa and Nigeria,” Muhammed says.

The new citizens were able to apply to vote, get passports, and get their social security cards after the ceremony.

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