Immigrants become U.S. citizens
Eighty-four immigrants recieved U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at Madison Central High School last week.
Oluwarotimi Adepoju, one of the immigrants, said being an American and living in Madison feels great.
“I’ve been living in Madison for three years and I’ve been in America for the past 14 years,” Adepoju said. “Becoming a citizen has been a long journey and it’s a privilege to be here and continue to contribute to this great nation. Americans have a great privilege and a lot of people want to be part of this country.”
Adepoju grew up in a middle-class home in Nigeria and became a medical doctor there. He became a pediatrician when he came to Madison and now that he is an American citizen, he wants to pursue even more opportunities.
“I currently own Empower Children’s Clinic and we have a location in Pearl and Madison,” he said. “We’re working on a wellness clinic very soon now that I’m an American. It’s great to be here.”
The 84 immigrants earned their citizenship from the United States District Court (District of Southern Mississippi) during the naturalization ceremony on Dec. 8.
These immigrants migrated from 33 different countries, such as China, India, Ukraine, Nigeria, Greece, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and Cuba.
Owner of YiaYia’s Greek Kitchen in Madison and Greece native Stefano Mangafakis also became an American citizen during the ceremony.
“I’m very proud and happy,” Mangafakis said. “We’ve got the restaurant. America gives you a lot of opportunities to do whatever you’d like to do. Greece is a wonderful country, but it is not like America. I love both countries but I have the opportunity in this country to do what I do. I love it here and God bless America.”
Adepoju and Mangafakis were two of 12 new American citizens living in Madison, along with eight new citizens living in Ridgeland, two living in Canton, and 11 in Jackson.
United States District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III administered the oath of citizenship to the applicants and said he couldn’t be happier for them.
“It is a lengthy and thorough process for an applicant to be naturalized,” Jordan said. “I am honored to be a part of this final step to citizenship.”
U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Mississippi Darren LaMarca and Field Office Director of the Department of Homeland Security Eureka Arties led the presentations for granting the petitions and presented the petitioners.
Everyone in attendance said the Pledge of Allegiance and the Madison Central Madrigal Singers performed “My Country Tis of Thee” before Judge Jordan presented each immigrant with their certificate to officially solidify their citizenship.
“Let me be the first to say, congratulations. You’re all American citizens,” he said. “I speak for everyone in the room when I say how proud we are of you and we’ve welcomed you with open arms. You are an example of America at its finest. You came here, you did everything your country asked you to do, and I know it was a long and hard process. You all came here from 33 different countries, and you will all walk out as Americans.”
The Madison Central Singers closed the ceremony by singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”