© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

In Special 4th Of July Ceremony, 27 Become U.S. Citizens

Steve Harrison
In Charlotte, 27 people from 21 countries became U.S. citizens on the Fourth of July.

They were from countries from all over the world - such as Bhutan, Brazil, Eritera, Nepal, Togo and Ukraine.

In a special ceremony at the Charlotte Museum of History on the Fourth of July, 27 people became U.S. citizens. 

Men dressed in revolutionary garb were the honor guard. There was the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

John Eberly, a supervisory immigration services officer with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services office in Charlotte, administered the oath of allegiance.

"I need all 27 of you to raise your right hands," Eberly said. "And you're all going to repeat after me. I hearby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen..."

Vanessa Amabo, of Cameroon, has been in the United States since 2011 -- first as a student at UNC Charlotte. She was surprised how emotional the ceremony was.

"Actually when I came this morning, I told my friends, don't bother," she said. "I'll just come and get a certificate and go home, but I didn't imagine to feel so much pride and joy. Just sitting there like, 'Oh my God, this is actually it.' "

President Trump congratulated Amabo and the others in taped remarks. The keynote address was given by Brian Jones, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Johnson C. Smith University.

Jones alluded to the nation's division over immigration and a surge of migrants trying to reach the United States through Mexico.

"This is a difficult time for many of our citizens and those eager to become citizens," he said. "The anger often directed at those from near-distant shores seeking opportunity knows few parallels in our history -- amplified as those voices are now by propoganda outlets and the digital echo chamber."

Jones then challenged the group of 27 to treat future immigrants with compassion.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.