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30 New Americans Naturalized In Clarksburg

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Family and friends gathered in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg to watch 30 more people become American citizens.

"It's life changing for me," said Erlina Bogwat.

Twenty-nine other people joined her in federal court in Clarksburg Friday as they were officially made American citizens in the court's annual naturalization ceremony.

The 30 new Americans came from three continents and many countries to begin new lives in the land of the free, and took the Oath of Allegiance to the country before being welcomed by the court and friends and family. U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley said she enjoys knowing how much the state and the country can benefit from their arrival.

"We have new energy, new resources, new talents, and new commitment from 30 person who weren't Americans yesterday. So our country is enriched by all of that, and West Virginia is enriched by all of that," Keeley said.

Bogwat has lived in the United States for some time already, and now that she's a naturalized citizen, she's looking forward to taking advantage of all that status has to offer.

"I'd just like to do something that American citizens can do that's some can't do because they're not citizens," Bogwat said.

And with municipal elections coming up, Bogwat said she's especially looking forward to having the chance to finally cast her vote as an American. And Judge Keeley said that's something these thirty people have earned in their studies.

"The 30 new citizens today have worked so hard and learned so much about the United States, far more than we natural-born Americans usually know. I am so happy to celebrate their achievement," Keeley said.