BANGOR, Maine — Ana Quaker traveled three hours from the York County city of Berwick to earn her U.S. citizenship Friday.
The 41-year previous, who’s initially from Romania, moved to Maine in 2015. She went to Bangor with six members of the family, together with her husband Mark, and she’s going to have fun with a barbeque this weekend. Quaker, 41, went by the Okay-1 visa course of, which is when a U.S. citizen should apply to deliver their fiancee right here from one other nation.
“Greater than something, I’m relieved,” she mentioned after the ceremony the place she raised her proper hand and took the Oath of Allegiance. “It was an extended course of and a whole lot of paperwork.”
For Quaker and 24 others who got here from 18 nations, it was a day they may at all times bear in mind. The final naturalization ceremony on the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Constructing and Courthouse befell in March. That was the primary one in three years as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
After assembly the nation’s necessities and passing an interview and examination, the group lastly turned U.S. residents. The ceremony is a culminating second within the lives of many contributors, a few of whom have skilled troublesome journeys to America.
“Earlier than you permit at the moment, take a second and have a look at one another,” U.S. District Courtroom Decide Lance Walker informed the group earlier than they took the oath. “You, individually and as a gaggle, at the moment are America.”
There was no query about how Fidele Rutonesha, 30, was feeling after the ceremony — “pleased, in fact,” he mentioned whereas snapping pictures with family members.
He and his 22-year-old cousin, Christian Sebatware Byishimo, are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and now reside within the Androscoggin County city of Poland. Byishimo arrived in Michigan in 2016 and Rutonesha in Texas a yr later earlier than relocating to Maine.
“We got here right here for peace and freedom,” Byishimo mentioned, pointing to ongoing battle and displacement of their dwelling nation. “We love the US.”
Some new residents, like Sylvie Isimbi of Portland, crammed out voter registration playing cards by the Maine League of Girls Voters.
Isimbi, 35, from Rwanda, joined her members of the family in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2015. She now lives along with her husband in Portland and works as a caregiver, which she enjoys and doesn’t see altering along with her new standing.
“At this time appears like my dream got here true,” she mentioned. “Actually, it was my dream.”
Walker inspired contributors to share their artwork, music, language and recipes. He additionally reminded them to have interaction their neighbors with humility throughout divisive occasions. As new residents, they need to be nicely knowledgeable, begin a enterprise, proceed their schooling, apply their faith and love their neighbors, he mentioned.
“Cherish this second, savor this second, and maybe most significantly, go dwelling and report this second in order that future generations can study the story of their American citizenship,” he mentioned.