KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Six hundred people from at least 41 different countries became American citizens Wednesday in four separate ceremonies.
Nearly 2,400 people have been naturalized as U.S. citizens in the western district of Missouri since March 2020. Many say they still consider the United States to be a land of opportunity.
Marilyn Abts is one of them. She emigrated here from the Philippines 12 years ago. She said she looks forward to being an American citizen now so she can vote.
“Oh, I am proud to be an American!” Abts said. “Because my family is here, my daughter, my sisters. All my family is here. We have the freedom of speech.”
Abts said she’s thankful to be fully vaccinated in the United States, something that would not have happened to her yet in the Philippines. She also looks forward to continuing to work beyond retirement age, another benefit, she says, of being in America.
The new Americans heard the Park Hill choir sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” at the ceremonies.
More than 7 million people have applied online for U.S. immigration benefits.
Park Hill High School is hosting the ceremonies, and students and faculty throughout the district will be able to watch via live stream.