Military members among 65 of America’s newest citizens after Tampa Bay ceremony

Mobile

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The land of the free and home of the brave just got a little bigger. 

Sixty-five people from over 20 different countries became America’s newest citizens on Thursday at the USCIS Tampa field office.

Five of those who took the Oath of Allegiance were members of the military. One is an Army reservist and four are currently stationed at MacDill Air Force Base. 

“This is the country that has given me a great opportunity in my career and I always wanted to be a U.S. citizen,” Harish Reddy Mukala said.

Mukala, a specialist in the Army, is from India. He says the naturalization process took him nearly three and a half years.

Olardo Lawrence, a Jamaica native, was also sworn in Thursday. He says he’s proud to officially be a citizen for the country he currently serves.

“Persons or citizens from Jamaica always come to the United States to find grander opportunities, so that was always meaningful to me,” Lawrence said. “I am happy that it culminated this way with me being in the uniform and receiving it on a special day and special occasion for Veterans Day.”

The citizenship candidates originate from the following 23 countries: Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, Moldova, Philippines, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Vietnam. 

According to the USCIS, the agency naturalized 833,000 people in the 2019 fiscal year – an 11-year high in new oaths of citizenship. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Videos

Storm Team 8 Forecast: Cooler temps with abundant sunshine today

Thumbnail for the video titled "Storm Team 8 Forecast: Cooler temps with abundant sunshine today"

Gasparilla 2020: What to know before you go

Thumbnail for the video titled "Gasparilla 2020: What to know before you go"

Law enforcement runs tight ship to keep 2020 Gasparilla safe

Thumbnail for the video titled "Law enforcement runs tight ship to keep 2020 Gasparilla safe"

Mortgage mess fixed

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mortgage mess fixed"

Veteran relieved after dangerous oak tree removed from near his home

Thumbnail for the video titled "Veteran relieved after dangerous oak tree removed from near his home"

New medical marijuana dispensary opens in Lutz 'There was a tremendous need'

Thumbnail for the video titled "New medical marijuana dispensary opens in Lutz 'There was a tremendous need'"

Politics On Your Side - January 19, 2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Politics On Your Side - January 19, 2020"

Gasparilla invasion causes headaches for business and residents

Thumbnail for the video titled "Gasparilla invasion causes headaches for business and residents"

Sarasota Beef' O Brady's employee tests positive for Hepatitis A

Thumbnail for the video titled "Sarasota Beef' O Brady's employee tests positive for Hepatitis A"

Path of Destruction: Polk County Deputies investigate why driver of Jeep lost control

Thumbnail for the video titled "Path of Destruction: Polk County Deputies investigate why driver of Jeep lost control"

Polk Co. deputies searching for daycare theft suspect

Thumbnail for the video titled "Polk Co. deputies searching for daycare theft suspect"

Bobbie’s Busy Bee Daycare theft

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bobbie’s Busy Bee Daycare theft"
More Local News

Latest Videos

More Local News

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss