Vermont welcomes new US citizens - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont welcomes new US citizens

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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -

They came from 19 countries, including Poland...

"Oh it is crazy, I am so excited," said Gosia Meyer of Poland. "I have been waiting for it for a few years."

...Nepal...

"After five or six years to be a United States citizen-- it feels great," said Ram Timsina of Nepal.

...and for Sarra Blok-- neighboring Canada.

"It's amazing, we've been working at this for 17 years," Blok said.

Wednesday, 31 people packed the stage at Essex High School, where they were sworn in as new American citizens.

"The people, people really make it special. You really have a lot of different cultures; you have a variety of people here," Blok said.

"When you see 31 individuals who have fought all kinds of battles to get here become American citizens, it's just incredibly moving," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Chief U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss had the honor of overseeing the ceremony.

"It is our only court proceeding where everyone is happy, and it is just an honor to watch people make that transition from applicant to U.S. citizen," Reiss said.

The swearing in comes just a week after two U.S. immigrants were allegedly involved the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon-- events that are adding to the immigration debate in Washington and whether reforms are needed.

"That's a tough question, I think that's actually for the government," Blok said. "I think what happened was a tragedy and I don't think every immigrant is going to be like that."

But Blok says the response to the tragedy is a sign to citizens old and new of what makes America shine.

"I feel really bad for them and I saw how the whole nation-- not just people in Boston, but the whole nation-- stopped and prayed for them," Blok said. "I thought that was amazing."

It was a sense of community that with an oath and pledge these folks are now a part of while paying allegiance to the same flag.

The new citizens were invited to register to vote after they were sworn in.

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