CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – It was a day of happiness and applause at the U.S. District Court Friday in Clarksburg as 31 new citizens were naturalized in a ceremony. The newly-naturalized citizens hailed from 19 countries across the world.

Families were in attendance to watch the ceremony, which was led by U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh. Many of the new citizens said they had been working toward this goal for years, and they were happy to finally see it happen.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh during the Pledge of Allegiance (WBOY image)

Asaad Alhawshabi was born in Yemen and was finally granted U.S. citizenship in the ceremony.

“I would love to be a U.S. citizen, and this is my future for being a student. When I was in my country [I wanted] to come to America to go to school in America and pass Weir High or high school,” Alhawshabi said.

Vivian Nguyen was born in Vietnam but lived in the United States for almost four years until she received her citizenship.

“I’m so happy, and it’s amazing. I want to say thank you to our God, to America, and everyone here to come here to join our ceremony,” Nguyen said.

Representatives from Senators Manchin and Capito’s offices were in attendance, as well as representatives from West Virginia’s House Delegates Alex Mooney and David McKinley.

The ceremony also featured a brief message from President Biden, congratulating the new citizens on their naturalization.