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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 20, 202204:50 AM EST

New citizens sworn in at Jaguars game halftime

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Seventy-four immigrants from 32 countries became U.S. citizens.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

For the fourth consecutive year, the Jacksonville Jaguars hosted a naturalization ceremony at TIAA Bank Field.

Seventy-four immigrants from 32 countries became U.S. citizens Jan. 9 during halftime at the Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts game.

At the ceremonies, people who have worked for years to complete the requirements of American citizenship swear their allegiance to the U.S. and receive their naturalization certificates, the final step in becoming a citizen.

Before the pandemic, naturalization ceremonies also were conducted in the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse with the new citizens’ families and friends, along with community leaders and students, witnessing the proceedings.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the court has been unable to invite large audiences into the courthouse.

The open-air ceremonies at the stadium have become an important annual event for the federal court, the Jaguars and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“We are so pleased that the Jaguars have continued the tradition of sharing this important civics lesson and reminder with their fans and broadcast audience by finding a way to conduct this public halftime ceremony within CDC guidelines and the Jaguars’ 2022 Stadium Protocols,” U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard said in a news release.

Howard received the 2022 Chief Justice’s Distinguished Federal Judicial Pro Bono Service Award from the state Supreme Court, in part for her leadership in coordinating the naturalization ceremonies.

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