The newest Americans

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St. Charles resident Samson “Sam” Landrea, left, proudly displayed an American flag after being sworn in as a new citizen last Friday at Aurora University’s Crimi Auditorium, From left are Landrea, 53, a Phillippines native born on July 4; his wife and Hon. William T. Hart, judge, U.S. District Court for northern district of Illinois, who appoved a motion to accept new citizens and administered the oath of allegiance. About 130 immigrants from 35 countries became citizens in a naturalization ceremony. (Al Benson photo)

Newest citizens also signed up for voting

More than 130 immigrants not only became U.S. citizens last week, many also promptly became participants in democracy.

In a third naturalization ceremony hosted last Friday by Aurora University, 135 immigrants from 29 countries became sworn in citizens in a ceremony at  Crimi Auditorium that came complete with flags, songs and speeches.


And right at the event was the chance to register to vote, thanks to a convenient table with a voter registrar. Twenty new citizens signed up on the spot.

But the big event was the official swearing in ceremony, overseen by Yolanda Vera supervisory immigration services officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

St. Charles resident Samson “Sam” Landrea, a Phillippines native, celebrated by unfurling a large American flag for photos with friends and relatives. Landrea, 53, was born on July 4. He is a maintenance worker at Ambria College in Hoffman Estates.

Other newly minted citizens waved small flags.

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Sugar Grove resident Amy Manion, left, registered about 20 new voters after a naturalization ceremony at Aurora University’s Crimi Audiorium last Friday. Manion is a deputy voting registrar and AU information services librarian. About 135 immigrants from 29 countries became citizens in the ceremony. (Al Benson photo)  


A quartet of students from the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps unit at East Aurora High School presented and retired the colors.

The swearing in ceremony was officially designated as a federal court session and was opened by Carol Wing, courtroom deputy, U.S. District Court for northern Illinois district.

A roll call of nationalities represented by prospective citizens was read by Phillip Marcucci, immigration services officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Reena Parikh, associate counsel, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, presented the motion to naturalize immigrants.

The Hon. William T. Hart, U.S. District Court for northern Illinois district, approved the motion to naturalize immigrants and led the oath of allegiance. And Catherine Norquist, immigration services legal director, World Relief, led the pledge of allegiance. 

Keynote speaker was Hon. Manuel Barbosa of Elgin, retired judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court.


—Al Benson and News Bulletin news sources