SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a big day for more than a hundred immigrants who have been living in South Dakota.
Friday they all became United States citizens and we were there as they raised their right hands and took the oath of allegiance.
They come from all over the world. From Cambodia to Canada and South Africa to Somalia.
Like Najima Haji.
“In Somolia, there was a war going on so we had to flee our country and go to a different city and that’s how we got separated from our dad, who I haven’t seen for 13 years now, yeah it’s a long time,” Haji said.
Haji is one of 134 immigrants from 33 countries who have met all the standards to become a U.S. citizen.
“You have to reside in the United States for a certain period of time, you have to make sure that you obey all the laws and don’t get in trouble and then you have to demonstrate proficiency in English,” Honorable Veronica Duffy, United States Magistrate Judge said.
They also had to pass a naturalization test with a series of questions about our government.
Before they were sworn in, United States Magistrate Judge, Veronica Duffy talked to the large group, so large, it had to be held inside the Washington Pavilion instead of a federal courtroom.
She told them, U.S. citizens sometimes take their freedoms for granted.
“Each naturalization is different, because each time the makeup of the people getting naturalized are different. The one thing they have in common is perseverance,” Duffy said.
And today their perseverance paid off.
“I like the people where I work, I like the food, I like the clothes, I like the freedom,” Salah Hamaili of Algeria said.
“That today you are a citizen of the united States of America so help you God if so please say I do , I do….
“I’ve waited for this for the past 6 years it is so amazing to be a citizen finally.
If you’d like to see an example of the naturalization test they have to pass to become a U.S. citizens, click here.