OAK GROVE, Miss. - Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant delivered the keynote address to 29 newly sworn citizens at Oak Grove High School Thursday morning.
"What a great day for the nation, and these new citizens" said Governor Bryant.
United States Magistrate Michael T. Parker presided the event as the oath of citizenship was administered to the applicants from 18 different countries.
With recent national immigration concerns Judge Parker said everyone can agree on the process itself.
“The one thing on immigration that everyone agrees on, is this process, everyone here today, has done everything the law requires to become citizens in this country to become dedicated to the country, and we celebrate that" said Judge Parker.
He added, "This is a happy thing, sometimes immigration can be a controversial topic, but there is not anything controversial, about what happened here today, it was just 29 people who wanted to be part of this country and they did what it took to celebrate that.”
Judge Parker said holding the ceremony at Oak Grove high school presents a unique opportunity for students and the community. It was the second Naturalization Ceremony performed outside the Southern District courthouse.
“I think it is historic, and our students need to be aware of the process that these individuals undertook because it was not easy for them" said Lamar county Superintendent Tess Smith.
Two citizens said although the process was long they are excited to be an American. “Very happy, you know hard for me, very hard" said Diep Xuan Thi Mai from Vietnam.
Suhie Oh from the Republic of South Korea added, “It means a lot to me, I have been long ways to come here, been to all the other countries, yes so, finally I found some place I can put my feet on.”