Dan Fernandes of Mt. Vernon surrounded by his fellow employees and friends from Bettendorf Stanford in Salem after receiving his U.S. Citizenship.
There are 67 new citizens in the U.S., including a Mt. Vernon man, following a Naturalization Ceremony at Kaskaskia College on Friday.
U.S. Attorney Steven Weinhoeft presented the candidates.
“On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, I am pleased to present to the court 67 candidates from 27 different countries, candidates for naturalization who’s applications have been approved by the Attorney General of the United States.”
Federal Judge Nancy Rosenstengel then administered the oath.
“This oath has two parts. In the first part, you will absolutely and entirely denounce allegiance to any foreign state or sovereignty. And the second part of the oath you will swear to support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. The words are plain. The oath means what it says.”
Kaskaskia College President George Evans then spoke to the new citizens.
“You have the responsibility to be a good person. Honesty, respect, caring, truthfulness, and love for your fellow man and this great nation is the essential mortar that holds the bricks together to maintain the foundation of America. It is these characteristics that define us as Americans. And these characteristics that we must uphold in order to preserve the bright future of this country for generations to come.”
Among those taking the oath was Daniel Fernandes who is an employee of Bettendorf Stanford in Salem.
“I’m so happy. This is amazing. When I came to the United States I have been living here for about 11 years so it’s fantastic and amazing. I love the United States.”
Fernandes says the U.S. is now home.
“I have amazing friends over here. They are my family over here. I come from Brasil in 2007, then the first time I’ve been here I moved to California and then to Salem, Illinois.”
Fernandes joined the team after another employee who had worked with him in California recommended him. He is a lead assembler for the slicers used for buns. A number of employees at the Salem plant were in attendance at the Lifelong Learning Center at the main college campus to watch their friend and fellow worker become a U.S. Citizen.