KEYSTONE – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. District Court of South Dakota is welcoming 120 people as new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Memorial amphitheater at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
U.S. Chief Judge Roberto Lange will deliver welcoming remarks. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann will administer the Oath of Allegiance. USCIS Associate Director of the Field Operations Directorate Michael Valverde will provide congratulatory remarks along with Mount Rushmore National Memorial’s Superintendent Michelle Wheatley and Mount Rushmore Society President Aaron Galloway.
The citizenship candidates originate from 41 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, China, Congo (Kinshasa), Cuba, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.
They live in Aberdeen, Aurora, Brookings, Custer, Flandreau, Harrisburg, Hill City, Huron, Iroquois, Madison, North Sioux City, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Sturgis, Warner, Watertown, Volga and Yankton.
USCIS and NPS first signed an agreement in September 2006 to connect America’s newest citizens to national parks throughout the country. These historic and often picturesque sites provide an ideal backdrop for citizenship ceremonies. Since then, USCIS renewed the agreement in 2021 and coordinated special citizenship ceremonies at many of the 400 places safeguarded by NPS across the country, including Yosemite, Channel Islands, and numerous memorial parks on the National Mall.