America welcomes new citizens in Naturalization Ceremony

Digital Originals

PEORIA, Ill.– A group of 40 New Citizens was sworn in at the last Naturalization Ceremony of the year in Peoria Friday.

The Naturalization Ceremony was held in the federal courthouse and was presided over by Judge Joe McDade. The ceremony included the Oath of allegiance ceremony, video tributes, and guest speakers representing local leaders.

One new citizen, Venky Basam, said he was very happy to finally be a citizen.

“I’m really very happy and very proud to be an American citizen,” Basam Said. “I worked very hard to come to this stage, and I’m very very happy.”

Another new Citizen Krishna Balakrishnan said he has been working to become a citizen for 18 years, and he looks forward to being able to vote for the first time in his life.

“When I was 20 I moved to this country so I didn’t get a chance to vote in India,” Balakrishnan said. “Ive never gotten the chance to vote in my life so I’m looking forward to it.”

All new citizens were able to sign up to vote following the ceremony.

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