By Rebecca Panico | Published June 21, 2016
Thirty-five immigrants hailing from countries as far away as Haiti to France were sworn in Monday as United States citizens at Kean University’s Liberty Hall Museum, the university announced in a press release.
The naturalization ceremony was a first for Liberty Hall, which served as the home of New Jersey’s first governor, William Livingston, and has been visited by nine U.S. presidents.
U.S. Representative Albio Sires, a naturalized citizen from Cuba who served as the keynote speaker at the event, noted the beauty of the museum and Kean’s rich ethnic diversity, according to the press release.
“To think that this place goes back to 1772, and all the history that is here. Today, you are making history as you are sworn in as an American citizens.”
Kean University Board of Trustees Chair Ada Morell recalled her own journey from Cuba to the U.S. to become part of an “amazing, supportive and prosperous nation,” the release said.
“I know the excitement, the nervousness and even a little bit of disbelief that you are probably feeling today,” she said. “I also know the joy and the pride you will feel at the conclusion of today’s ceremony.”
The ceremony took place in a tent strewn with glittering white lights on the Liberty Hall grounds on what was not only the first day of summer, but also World Refugee Day.
“This was so much more than I expected,” said Taissa Vaz of Elizabeth, who emigrated from Brazil. “It was wonderful and beautiful.”
All of the new citizens who took the United States Oath of Allegiance at Liberty Hall Museum live in Union County, according to the university. They were born in the following countries: Algeria (1); Angola (1); Brazil (2); Colombia (1); Costa Rica (1); Cuba (1); Dominica (1); Dominican Republic (3); Ecuador (2); El Salvador (2); France (1); Ghana (1); Guyana (1); Haiti (5); Italy (1); Nicaragua (1); Nigeria (1); Peru (2); Philippines (1); Portugal (4); St. Kitts-Nevis (1); Ukraine (1).