Two Bhutanese in Burlington take US citizenship amid shutdown
Despite shutdown in the US government, two Bhutanese including Kamal Prasad Upreti in Burlington, Vermont on October 7 amidst special ceremony, along with 23 other immigrants from 17 countries.
The venue was a special session of U.S. District Court at Rice Memorial High School, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy presiding.
They had a gym full of students to applaud them and a chorus to serenade them. Outside, the big rain and the big wind held off until after the reception.
“You have all taken a courageous step in leaving your homes and in some cases your families to come here to pursue your dreams and your aspirations,” Conroy said, adding, “With the exception of native Americans, all of us or our ancestors have made that very same voyage with those very same dreams. In a very fundamental way, we are all legal immigrants of this country.”
Conroy enumerated the requirements the applicants had satisfied — including five years’ residence, background checks, passing scores in “challenging tests” of English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and government.
The school choir sang, the certificates of citizenship were passed out, and the ceremony concluded in a tidy 40 minutes. The new citizens embraced their families and friends and headed to the reception in the cafeteria.