49 immigrants become U.S. citizens in Jefferson City
JEFFERSON CITY - Forty-nine immigrants were granted United States citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in Jefferson City Thursday.
Thirty-one countries were represented in the ceremony, including Mexico, Somalia, Bangladesh and Iraq.
For some at the ceremony, this process was a long time coming. Patrick Kelly of Canada has been in the U.S. for 51 years. He resides in Kansas City.
"I've always considered myself an American anyhow. I've got three children, three boys that are in the Coast guard," Kelly said. "It was more of a format for me. I'm glad it's done."
Kelly said part of the reason he decided to go through the process was the uncertainty of immigration laws under a new presidential administration.
"It leaves a lot of people that are green card carriers not stable in very unstable times, so it motivated me," he said.
Jermaine Basa of the Phillipines said this day brings his family even closer together.
"I'm on the safe side now. Since my [father] is actually serving the U.S. Navy Seal, I think for me, my personal opinion, I'm a U.S. citizen already," Basa said.
The adjournment and presentation of certificates was lead by Senior U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey. The Helias Catholic High School Choir gave the national anthem.
"I'm here. It's done. It's over. It's the beginning," Amireen Crewsi of the Phillipines said.
Crewsi moved to American in 2010. She said today is a milestone in her life.
"It means I can be with my husband anywhere he goes," she said.
For many, coming together as a family was the most important part about the process.
"I have seven children, 18 grandchildren, they're all here in the United States. It felt like it needed to be done and so I went ahead and did it. I feel good about it," Kelly said.
Basa feels the same.
"This day here means a better life. A better tomorrow and the safest feeling, ever, you can feel in your life," Basa said.