KEYSTONE, S.D. (KELO) — Wednesday was a monumental day for brand new US citizens. The annual Nationalization Ceremony was held at Mount Rushmore.
“Hello everyone, my name is Isela Simental, I came from Mexico and I am so happy because I can finally proclaim myself an American citizen!”
The naturalization ceremony is held each year here at Mount Rushmore. This year 125 people became American citizens.
For Isela Simental and Adalene Schwab this is a day they will never forget.
“I waited for this for the last 10 years and I started with my process in 2021 and finally I am here to finish this journey with immigration,” Isela Simental said.
“I’ve been living in the United States for about 17 years so it is a big deal. We are excited to be here and to be part of this beautiful country,” Adalene Schwab, a new citizen from South Africa, said.
“When we naturalize people it is a real moment where people get to see the nation get a little bit stronger, a little bit smarter, a little bit wealthier and a little bit more prosperous. So I think it’s a very important activity and there is no better place to celebrate it today,” Michael Valverde, United Citizenship and Immigration Services, said.
Many of these new citizens have big plans for the future.
“I want to go to college. We are trying to do our own business here in South Dakota, but we’ll see!” Simental said.
“I can finally vote!” Schwab said.
After the ceremony, the new citizens had a small reception and were able to register to vote at Mount Rushmore.