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The United States Welcomed 79 New Citizens in a Naturalization Ceremony at Half-Time of the Jacksonville Jaguars Game against the Indianapolis Colts December 29, 2019.

The judges of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, working together with the Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Jacksonville, are pleased to announce that for the second year in a row the Jacksonville Jaguars hosted a Naturalization Ceremony at TIAA Bank Field during the half-time of the Jaguars game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, December 29, 2019. At half-time, 79 northeast Florida residents from 35 different countries gathered on the field for a Naturalization Ceremony at which they became new citizens of the United States. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 61 and included two active duty and one veteran of the United States Navy, as well as six married couples and one pair of sisters.

The federal judiciary is committed to engaging the public in projects that educate citizens and Naturalization Ceremonies hosted by federal courts throughout the United States help to fulfill that commitment. At these ceremonies, immigrants who have worked for years to fulfill the arduous requirements of U.S. citizenship swear their allegiance to the United States and receive their naturalization certificates, the final step in becoming a citizen of the United States.

In Jacksonville, federal judges host a Naturalization Ceremony every month in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse. Every month a school or community organization is invited to participate in or witness these meaningful ceremonies providing students and adults alike with a learning experience about what it means to become a U.S. citizen.

District Judge Marcia Morales Howard said, “As the daughter of naturalized citizens, I have always found Naturalization Ceremonies to be incredibly meaningful. Seeing the faces of these hardworking people the moment they hear that they are now American citizens is truly inspiring. Their faces exude unbridled Pride, Joy, and Optimism for the future. Those faces serve as a reminder to all American citizens of how incredibly fortunate we are to be citizens of this great country with all of its freedoms and opportunities. Over the years, our Court has tried to expand the educational experience of attending a Naturalization Ceremony to larger and more diverse audiences. We are so pleased that the Jaguars share our appreciation for the importance of these ceremonies.”

Judge Howard and Lisa Bradley, Field Office Director of DHS-USCIS, appreciate and thank the Jacksonville Jaguars for their cooperation in providing a lesson in citizenship to thousands of Jaguars fans as well as graciously hosting the new citizens and their families at the game.

At the ceremony Judge Howard administered the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America which says:

"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."


Video courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

January 15, 2020