Hundreds of immigrants become American Citizens at Auburn - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Hundreds of immigrants become American Citizens at Auburn University

In just five minutes, years of paperwork and waiting finally paid off for several hundred people at Auburn University on Thursday.

Langdon Hall overflowed with patriotism and cheers of joy as 200 immigrants spanning 69 countries took an oath of devotion to become American citizens.

"I've been in America since 1999," said Soyina Thompson. "I came up for college and went through the rounds."

It's a process they say takes some several years and others only months.  Thompson, who is from Jamaica, said the process took her about six years.

"I'm very excited," Thompson said. "I'm very happy.  My son says now I'm a Ja-merican.  But, I'm actually an American."

Andrew Capstickdale from South Africa says the two-hour ceremony is actually the easy part.  For him, it took 12 years to get to that day.

"I feel great!" Capstickdale said. "Because it's been a long process and it's just been a lot of documents that I had to fill out.  Fairly easy, today was the easiest part.  God bless America right."

Thursday was also historic for Auburn University.  It was the first time in history, the naturalization process has taken place on campus.

"We actually do naturalization ceremonies every week," said Denis Frazier, USCIS Atlanta Region District Director. "We do several ceremonies at different locations.  This is the first time that we've done it at Auburn and we were really pleased that they welcomed us here.  They've just extended a warm welcome to all of us and to our newest citizens."

Frazier says this is all part of a campaign to get the community more involved in citizenship ceremonies.

"As they say, America is the land of opportunity and I'm blessed to be here," Thompson said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity.  Now I feel free to do stuff and be able to enjoy it."

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