SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Immigrants in our region are celebrating their first day as American citizens.

A naturalization ceremony was held Friday at the federal courthouse in Scranton.

Nearly 30 people from all over the world took the oath of allegiance to the United States.
It was the day Silvia Quesada from Austria had been waiting for.

“I am totally excited. It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time, and now that I’m retired, I had the time and the focus to take care of it and I am so happy to be able to become an American citizen,” said Silvia Quesada, of Austria.

Federal judges from the middle district of Pennsylvania swore in and presented the naturalization certificates.

Many friends and family members filled the courtroom supporting their loved ones.

“It was an honor, I’m so proud to be a U.S. Citizen,” stated Jay Avery.

Jaye Avery from the Philippines gave a speech during the ceremony. She noted the bright future that is ahead for her and the others.

“Becoming a U.S. citizen is an honor, a privilege, and I want to contribute to this country,” Avery added.

This honor comes after months of preparation, paperwork, and classes. They each had to pass a test containing a series of questions about United States history.

“Because I’m older I only had to remember the answers to 20 questions but I had worked on this before, so I usually passed at about 95 percent of the questions because I love history and knowing about the history of this country and all the constitution and all this is really important to me so I enjoyed the process hugely,” Quesada added.

The new citizens even heard a special message from President Joe Biden welcoming them to our country.