12 naturalization ceremonies so far this year

The U.S. District Court for the NMI has had 12 naturalization ceremonies this year—the most number ever in the recent history of the Commonwealth. The last naturalization ceremony for the year will be held on Dec. 14 at 10am.

Saipan Tribune learned from a court staff yesterday that, as of last September, there were already 125 individuals who have been naturalized, making this year not only the one with the most number of ceremonies, but also the most number of people naturalized, at least since 2004.

Except in August, the district court held naturalization ceremonies every month this calendar year.

Most naturalized citizens in the CNMI are former Philippine nationals.

According to the district court’s annual report, in 2015, the court held six naturalization ceremonies. A total of 104 individuals were naturalized from countries that included Canada, Palau, the United Kingdom, Samoa, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, and Jamaica.

In 2016, there were six naturalization ceremonies, with 115 individuals from 13 countries taking their oath as U.S. citizens. The countries include Palau, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Romania, Cuba, and Russia.

In 2017, five naturalization ceremonies were held, with 115 individuals naturalized from 13 countries. The countries are the same in the 2016 ceremonies.

In all of these ceremonies since 2015, several people served as keynote speakers, including Attorney General Edward Manibusan, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), then-Joint Region Marianas commander Rear Admiral Babette Bolivar, Saipan Mayor David Apatang, Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, Diocese of Chalan Kanoa Bishop Ryan Jimenez, Joint Region Marianas commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3457 commander Brad Ruszala, and lawyer and former Miss CNMI Universe Janet H. King, among others.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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