GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Wayne Community College welcomed 89 new American citizens Friday morning.
The naturalization ceremony was presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers ll, who led the recipients through their Oath of Allegiance. The U.S. citizens then crossed the auditorium stage to take their naturalization certificate.
Ericka Smith, originally from Guatemala, has lived in the U.S. since 2011. She and her husband Michael have been married for the past nine years. Until today, Smith was the only one in her family without U.S. citizenship.
“I felt like it just really completed our family. To have that common nationality, everybody, my kids, my husband, myself. It was a missing piece, so I feel complete,” said Smith.
Many family members were emotional as they watched their loved ones receive their citizenship. Michael Smith could not contain his joy over his wife’s achievement.
“This journey has been amazing. Just being able to be with her, her family, and her to know mine it was remarkable,” said Smith.
Immediately following the ceremony, a voter registration table was waiting outside for the new Americans to conduct their first matter of business as U.S. citizens.
“I’ve been wanting to vote. I can’t wait to have my voice count and to know that my ballot is going to make a difference for my immediate community, that’s going to be very cool,” said Ericka Smith.