Land of the free: America welcomes nearly 200 new citizens in naturalization ceremony

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 10:05 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 10:19 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - America has always been branded as the land of opportunity, a cultural melting pot that opens its doors to all those willing to call it home. That has never been more true as nearly 200 people cross the cultural threshold and claim American citizenship.

40 countries were represented in a ceremony that resembled America itself: people of differing shapes and sizes standing beside one another as they wave the flag in allegiance and respect for this great country.

Hands clasped and eyes brimming with hope for the future, the ceremony was a testament to just how important liberty and freedom of choice is.

One newly sworn in citizen, Sophia Morris, was born and raised in Jamaica but is proud to be an American today.

“You know, it’s an honor to be a United States citizen. I’ll wear this with pride.” Morris says.

Morris moved to the US in 2008 and became a permanent resident two years later.

But the process of becoming a citizen didn’t begin until last year.

Today, she is excited to play a role and making a difference in this country.

“I want to be involved. I am living here, I want to give it my all and be the best that I can be for the United States of America.” she says.

Becoming an American citizen for Sophia has opened doors and created opportunities that weren’t even a possibility in her native Jamaica.

“Marrying the love of my life, Dr. Angelica Thompson, that I would not be able to do in the country that I grew up.” She proclaimed as that glint of hope

She and her wife, Angelica say traveling to another country freely is a sweet solace and freedom that they had always hoped for.

Although she has filled out plenty of paperwork to get to this point, there is one more form she can’t wait to sign.

“Immediately, I will be getting my passport.” Morris says. “I can’t wait to present my passport to the.. when I’m going to the airport and say I’m a United States Citizen.”

For many, Friday’s naturalization ceremony means so much more than words could express.

To be welcomed into a ‘promised land’ of sorts, a hearth built on acceptance and democracy is worth more than gold.

Still, newly-deemed citizens like Sophia won’t stray too far from her Jamaican roots.

“And Jamaica is always home. But you know what, United States is now my permanent home.” she says.

Hearing the words of President Joe Biden welcoming Sophia and the other 159 as fellow Americans made the moment all the more precious.

Sophia said “America is the land of opportunity. If you come here, you work hard, you do the right thing and surround yourself with the right people, the possibilities are endless.”

That is what is woven into our nation’s very fabric...limitless possibilities.

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