Twenty children were treated to a Halloween-inspired U.S. citizenship certificate ceremony on Thursday. Some of the kids dressed up in costumes and the staff even participated, wearing costumes like superheroes and pirates. As kids entered the event, they could “trick-or-treat” and pick out their favorite candy.
“We got surprised. What is going on today?,” said Salar Hana, father.
Salar Hana and his son almost went to another room after seeing Halloween decorations at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office. But, the father and son quickly learned they were in the right place.
“I’m so happy about my son. Today is a special day for us. Thank you very much for everything and God bless America,” said Hana.
The children aged between 4 and 10-years-old are already United States citizens but their parents applied for them to receive an official certificate of citizenship. A spokesperson for USCIS said the children derived their citizenship from their parents – either their parents are U.S. citizens or became a U.S. citizen through naturalization.
“It's special not just for the kids, who I think feel really important when they get to raise their right hand and take the oath, but really it’s showing gratitude toward their parents for having gone through the journey to become a U.S. citizen,” said Madeline Kristoff, Acting Field Office Director for San Diego USCIS.
Eight countries were represented in the ceremony including: Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Mexico, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.