27 countries represented at naturalization ceremony Wednesday

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Immigrants from countries all around the world were sworn in as naturalized U. S. citizens at the federal courthouse this afternoon.

News 12 Now’s Ashley Henderson introduces us to a few of our newest fellow citizens.

Judge “Sandy” Mattice presided over the ceremony.

“After all the hard work and all the persistence that you’ve shown to become United States citizens, we’re going to make it happen today.”

Fifty people representing 27 nationalities took the oath of citizenship in the federal courtroom.

“It’s worthy of note, that what we take for granted, our citizenship, it’s equally sought by many people from all over the world.”

“By undergoing the naturalization process, you have demonstrated a commitment to becoming citizens. You are to be commended on your hard work, and upon your success.”

After the ceremony, we spoke with several of our new fellow Americans.

SADIKA AMREEN, PhD student, computer science UT
“We applied January of last year, so January of 2018, and so it’s about one year and a month.”

ZAKHAR POTOTSKIY, FROM RUSSIAN FEDERATION “This is the best county in the world and if anybody tell you something opposite, send them to me, I’ll talk to them and I’ll explain what’s up. This is the best county in the world. And I keep repeating that and I keep telling that to everybody who actually take what this country has, for granted.”

“Great nation, it’s provided me all the dreams that I had, so I’m really glad that I’m here, so it’s a good, good moment.”

Sometimes the process takes a long time. Author and Spanish teacher Danielle McClean started that journey in 1998.

“So I was a student at that point when I came, and then I left, I came back under a different VISA, my husband was a student when we came back, and so I was on an F2 VISA, and then when he, and then I matriculated for university again so I was again on a student VISA, and so it was sort of back and forth – I was on an H4 and then a green card, and finally, I’m a citizen, so it’s been a journey.”

After such a difficult process, I asked how some felt about those who choose to circumvent legal naturalization.

POTOTSKIY: “I’m not here to judge anybody, because in my opinion everybody have a right for happiness, and uh, you cannot judge them unless you know what exactly they’re going through.”

McCLEAN: “I am glad to be a citizen of another country that also welcomes persons from all over the world and is a county that is a melting pot and that has, represents so many different cultures and nationalities.”

In Chattanooga, Ashley Henderson, News 12 Now.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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