ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Bar Harbor resident and newly naturalized U.S. citizen Phelicia Allen could not stop smiling on Friday after taking the oath of allegiance during the naturalization ceremony at the Jordan Pond House.
Immigration Services Officer Jeffrey Hamm, who said these ceremonies are the best part of his job, presided over the event with officer Alana Reid giving the oath of allegiance. Bar Harbor resident Mary de Koning performed the national anthem to begin the ceremony.
Allen, originally from Jamaica, was one of 10 citizenship candidates who hailed from Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, France, Thailand and the United Kingdom. She, along with the other candidates, attended the ceremony hosted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with friends and family there for support.
To celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day from Sept. 17-23, the USCIS was expecting to welcome 21,000 new citizens in 335 naturalization ceremonies across the country. To highlight the importance of U.S. citizenship, USCIS often participates in special ceremonies at venues such as museums, schools and other notable venues to increase public awareness of the U.S. citizenship process.
Augustine and Ngozi Christopher traveled to the park from Bangor to take their oath and become U.S. citizens on Friday. Originally from Nigeria, the couple were thrilled to now call America home.
“We are so excited,” said Ngozi.
“It’s been a long journey but we are so grateful to be here,” said Augustine.