Celebration on Peoria’s Riverfront for 100 new U.S. citizens

Some of the 100 people who took the Oath of Allegiance Friday during a naturalization ceremony...
Some of the 100 people who took the Oath of Allegiance Friday during a naturalization ceremony at Peoria's Riverfront Museum(25 News Now/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 8:36 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - About 100 people from 31 countries became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Friday at Peoria’s Riverfront Museum.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) holds ceremonies such as the one locally to celebrate the final step in immigrants’ journeys to citizenship and to honor the commitment they’ve shown along the way.

“One of the best things we do in America Is welcoming people to the American family,” said Mick Dedvukaj, who’s district director of the USCIS Great Lakes Midwest Region.

“And, so we’re grateful when people decide to go through the lawful process, and become Americans, and we like to welcome them,” Dedvukaj said.

One of the new citizens, Seldon Kwafo from Ghana, said he moved to the U.S. five years ago, but started the application process last year.

“I’m really excited for the opportunities that come with being a citizen and being able to contribute to this society, and being a good member of the United States of America,” Kwafo said.

The citizens who took the oath Friday came from 31 countries; Algeria, Belize, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, India, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and Yemen.

U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid presided over the ceremony, while Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawkley administered the Oath of Allegiance.

Friday’s event at the Riverfront Museum one of more than 235 naturalization ceremonies nationwide welcoming more than 19,000 new citizens as part of the annual Constitution Week and Citizenship Day observances from September 17-23.