HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Naturalization is commonly referred to as the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen.
"This is easily the most exciting and most rewarding thing that I do as a judge; that is, to recognize new citizens," U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker said.
Benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen include voting, being eligible for federal jobs, bringing family members to the US, and becoming an elected official.
"You would be amazed at their backgrounds and the things that they do," said Judge Parker. "One is a medical doctor at University Medical Center, now serving a residency, and another, who is a member of our navy, is already sacrificing and serving the country. [They are] very impressive people who are becoming part of our country."
Once the naturalization ceremony is over, everyone who exits the Federal Court Building will officially be an American citizen. For one special individual, that duty started before today. Danny Ramirez is one of the 25 new U.S. citizens. He is also a member of the U.S. Navy.
"I've been in the military for three months now," said Danny Ramirez. "I feel like I'm part of something bigger. It feels really good on the inside."
"I'm going on my first duty station; it's going to be a ship, D Donald Cook in Spain," said Ramirez. "After I do however many years, if I get deployed there, I may just come back home and try to be with my family just a little bit more."
The Naturalization ceremony is emotional, ranging from tears to excitement from the new citizens to their family and friends.
"You encounter people who understand the values of this country," said Judge Parker. "[People] who want to be a part of it, and who are willing to sacrifice to be a part of it."