SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It was an emotional and exciting day in Springfield for over 100 people and their families as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services welcomed in new U.S. citizens.

On Sunday, America will celebrate both Constitution and Citizenship Day, and across the country on Thursday, citizenship candidates took an oath at special ceremonies to officially finalize the long process in becoming naturalized as a citizen of the United States of America. At the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, 176 new U.S. Citizens were celebrated with the candidates and their families coming from 55 countries from all over the world.

“Means a lot, it really means a lot and I’m so happy and I’m so excited… to be able to vote and to be able give back to the community,” new U.S. citizen Omowunmi Shelton, from Nigeria.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services along with Judge Katherine Robertson, STCC President John Cook and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomed the group of 176 that will now officially call America their home. For many of those being celebrated and their families, this is a day that they have been dreaming for creating for an emotional moment.

22News spoke with Anfernee Para, the stepson of an immigrant from Haiti, who says Thursday’s ceremony has been a tear jerker and that it makes him look forward to his naturalization someday soon as well, “This morning when he woke up he was crying because he was waiting for this day. And I’m happy for him. And I will be happy for me because in 5 years I will be here.”

Thousands will be naturalized this week throughout the country at ceremonies like this one.

Local News

Heath Kalb is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Heath on X @HeathKalb and view his bio to see more of his work.