New Citizens Sworn In at First Naturalization Ceremony in Park’s History

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Date: September 29, 2016
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

MOOSE, WY —This morning, Thursday, September 29, 2016, Grand Teton National Park hosted a ceremony to naturalize 17 new United States citizens. The ceremony was the first of its kind to take place in the park, and is one of more than 100 taking place in national park sites across the country this year in celebration of the National Park Service's centennial anniversary.

Kelly H. Rankin, Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming, presided over the ceremony in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose. The ceremony got underway with the Pledge of Allegiance and The Star Spangled Banner, sung a cappella by Jackson Hole High School students Emma Detrick and Mila Centrella. Judge Rankin then recognized each of the 17 naturalizing citizens and administered the Oath of Allegiance.

"National parks aren't just about scenic beauty, but they represent sites of conscience, sites of commemoration, these sites are the storybook of America," Acting Deputy Superintendent Vickie Mates told the new citizens. "As you contemplate what it means to be an American citizen and these places that you now own, I would ask you to also play a role in protecting them and preserving them. Get out and explore."

Lori Scialabba, Deputy Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Judge Rankin also addressed the new citizens.

The 17 naturalized citizens originate from 11 countries including Brazil, Canada, China, Iran, Italy, Guatemala, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand and the Philippines. Each of them left the ceremony with a passport to their national parks courtesy of the Grand Teton Association.

The National Park Service has partnered with US Citizenship and Immigration Services to promote awareness and understanding of citizenship since 2006. Since the launch of the partnership, national parks have hosted naturalization ceremonies for thousands of new Americans. To learn more about the naturalization process, visit

Last updated: September 29, 2016

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