A judge approved new citizenship for dozens of people Friday morning.
“I’m very happy,” Sylvie Mathot, who is originally from Belgium but has been in the U.S. since 1995, said after the ceremony. “I can vote. I want to take part in the country.”
United States Magistrate Judge Christopher H. Steger presided over the ceremony and told the story of how Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse.
“The reason I tell you that story is that America truly is a place where the biggest dreams can become a reality,” he said.
He told the new citizens the country needs people like them and joked that this ceremony is one of the few times everyone is generally happy in the courtroom, which is where Jimmy Hoffa was sentenced in 1964.
Mathot said she enjoyed the joyful atmosphere.
There were people on hand to help new citizens register to vote and refreshments for them to enjoy with their families.
“It’s exciting,” Mathot said. “And it reminds people where we all come from and the fact that this country is based on immigration.”
About 50 people took the oath Friday morning and about 50 more were scheduled to do so in the afternoon.