Welcome to America, new citizens!

101 immigrants become Americans at Fayette library

Some of them waved flags. Others clapped. There were hugs and a few high-fives mixed in too. All were smiling, and they had good reason to be so happy: They had just been officially declared to be American citizens at a special naturalization ceremony at the Fayette County Library Friday afternoon.

The new Americans hailed from 45 different countries ranging from Algeria to Uruguay and many in-between such as Canada, China, German, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Peru, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and more.

Each had recited the oath of allegiance to the United States, which requires each immigrant to renounce their home country, along with a pledge to defend the the Constitution and laws of the United States “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

They also recited the pledge of allegiance and some even sang along to the national anthem. Clearly, they were happy to be officially recognized as Americans.

Prior to the ceremony, each candidate was reviewed individually and tested on government, history and their ability to speak, read and write good basic English, according to Denise M. Frazier, district director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Library Director Christeen Snell noted that the immigrants could have chosen “any other continent, but you chose North America, the United States of America. But moreover, you must have had Georgia on your mind.”

The audience broke out into applause, and Snell reminded them to apply for their free library card before they leave. The Fayette County Elections Office also had a table at the library so new immigrants could register to vote as well.