York County (PA) to hold small, outdoor naturalization ceremony after pause due to coronavirus
(will we see more of these in other locations?)
Dylan Segelbaum, York Daily Record May 5, 2020
The new coronavirus forced the cancellation of the naturalization ceremony scheduled for March in York County, but Allison Blew kept thinking of ideas.
Blew, who’s the new York County prothonotary, wondered whether the event could be held virtually. The federal government, she said, responded that it wasn’t allowed. But they later came up with a solution: hosting small, outdoor ceremonies.
“The biggest catalyst behind this was just to get these new citizens who have been working towards citizenship for years — that has been delayed because of this pandemic — to just get them naturalized so they can officially be U.S. citizens,” Blew said. “It’s really exciting.”
Common Pleas Judge Clyde W. Vedder will preside over the first ceremony, she said, which is set to take place at 2 p.m. on May 12 on the steps of the York County Administrative Center.
Blew said naturalization ceremonies are considered court proceedings, so new citizens will not be violating the governor's stay-at-home order to attend them.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended naturalization ceremonies through at least June 3. But in certain, limited circumstances, a spokesperson said, the agency may naturalize small numbers of people where it’s possible and proper precautions can be taken.
Erick Lara Acosta was one of 50 people who were supposed to be naturalized in March. He’s among six immigrants who are set to become new citizens at the first naturalization ceremony.
Lara, 24, a truck driver who emigrated from the Dominican Republic, said he had been worried.
He said he's glad to become a citizen and continue being part of the United States, where he’s lived since he was 13.
Said Lara: “I feel happy that everything is going good.”