Iowa Cubs host their 15th Annual Naturalization Ceremony at Principal Park
Des Moines, IA- It doesn’t get more American than baseball, hot dogs, fireworks, the 4th of July and taking the Oath to become an American citizen.
On Tuesday, July 4th, the Iowa Cubs — in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States District Court for the Southern District of lowa — welcomed 32 candidates as new U.S. citizens during a special ceremony Tuesday night at Principal Park celebrating Independence Day.
The ceremony took place prior to the Iowa Cubs game vs. the St. Paul Saints.
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by one of America’s newest citizens, Maw Naing Oo, from Thailand, who was among the 32 new citizens at Principal Park.
This is the 15th consecutive year the Iowa Cubs have hosted the on-field pre-game event.
“It’s special. The ballpark is a place where we pride ourselves in letting people make memories and what better memory for someone and their family to become a new citizen. We are honored to be part of it.” said Randy Wehofer, VP/Assistant General Manager for the Iowa Cubs.
Magistrate Judge Stephen Locher of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa oversaw the ceremony and gave the keynote speech. Penny Luthens, case manager for the court, administered the Oath of Allegiance.
These new citizens come from 21 countries on 6 continents.
Maria Isabel Montes Arellano, a resident of Washington, Iowa, was one of the new citizens sworn in today.
Maria Isabel is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and has lived in the United States for 11 years. She told us how grateful she feels to be able to become a citizen. “This is a great opportunity that we have prepared a lot for,” she told Hola Iowa.
There have been a total 453 new citizens naturalized since the first on-field event was held on September 4, 2009, at Principal Park.
In addition, more than 2,000 candidates have become citizens in various other non-game day ceremonies at Principal Park over the past four years.