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Immigration News

15 Sailors Naturalized in the Philippines

15 Sailors Naturalized in the Philippines

Photo: USS Essex (USCIS)

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted two naturalization ceremonies for 15 sailors onboard two U.S. Navy ships deployed from Japan. The first ceremony, for five sailors, was conducted at sunset on the deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver on Oct. 13, 2010. The second ceremony, for 10 sailors, was held the next evening in the forecastle of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

USCIS Bangkok District Director Robert Looney and USCIS Manila Field Office Director David Roy presided during both ceremonies. Also participating in the USS Essex ceremony were ChargĂ© d’Affaires Leslie Bassett from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ron Horton and USS Essex commanding officer, Capt. Todd Hart. The commanding officer of the USS Denver, Capt Mario Mifsud, participated in the ceremony held on that ship.

Before the sailors could recite the Oath of Allegiance, they had to meet all the requirements to naturalize, including passing the naturalization test, which was administered by USCIS Overseas Adjudications Officer Cozettee Rousell-Barron.

The 15 new U.S. citizens, who hail from China, Ethiopia, Great Britain, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Philippines, demonstrate the diversity of the Navy. They are the first sailors to become naturalized U.S. citizens while serving in the Philippines since fiscal year 2009.

USCIS is committed to providing immigration services to members of the U.S. armed forces and their families stationed in the United States and abroad. During fiscal year 2010, officers from the USCIS Bangkok District conducted naturalization ceremonies for service members and their families in Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and on board Navy vessels at sea.