Naturalization ceremony in Kinston welcomes newest U.S. citizens

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — “Welcome to America” were the words that rang throughout Kinston Tuesday as 24 people from all over the globe were newly declared American citizens at Harmony Hall.

Congressman Walter B. Jones was there to shake their hands, just as he’s always been for the past 13 years since the first ceremony in 2005. Haddy

For  Haddy Salh, who is from the west coast of Africa, it’s been a long time coming.

“I came here since 1979 but I kept traveling back and forth, back and forth, until finally, I decided to finally become a citizen this past year,” Salh said. “It’s wonderful.”

It took her about a year to go through the naturalization process.

“It’s been wonderful and I love my family dearly and I really appreciate them so much,” Salh said. “In the process, I thank the Lord that everything is finally happening. I’m a citizen of the United States.”

The Lenoir County Historical Association holds this special event every Fourth of July and with the stars and stripes flying in the background, Irma Herrara, from Mexico, couldn’t hold back her excitement. “I did it!”

“I did it!” she said.

For Herrara, it was a challenging journey.

“It’s a long process,” said Herrara. “It’s hard. A lot of people get in. A lot of people don’t.  It’s just not available to get it, so it is a long process. Follow the rules and the laws.”

But now it is time to celebrate like an American, in traditional Fourth of July style and Herrara will do just that.

“Going home, going to do some cooking and have some fireworks!” said Herrara.


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