June 30, 2015

Meet 6 of St. Louis' Newest Citizens

In 2013, the United States naturalized nearly 800,000 immigrants as citizens. About 3,000 of those live in here St. Louis. In this week's feature, we followed a few local immigrants' paths to citizenship, which culminated in a naturalization ceremony at the Old Courthouse on June 12. All photos by Shelby Kardell. Click here for the full story.
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Becoming U.S. citizens was a joyful occasion for Adetola Olayefun, foreground, and Shatha Hassan, background.
Becoming U.S. citizens was a joyful occasion for Adetola Olayefun, foreground, and Shatha Hassan, background.
"In the process of taking the test, I learned so much about the history of the country, the U.S. constitution; it's so great. I love that." Adetola Olayefun of Nigeria
"In the process of taking the test, I learned so much about the history of the country, the U.S. constitution; it's so great. I love that." Adetola Olayefun of Nigeria
"I'm happy today," says Shatha Hassan of Iraq. (Her companion, Muhammed Jabarrazi, adds, "She only speaks one language, Arabic, and a second language is very hard to learn, but she fight it, and she got it.")
"I'm happy today," says Shatha Hassan of Iraq. (Her companion, Muhammed Jabarrazi, adds, "She only speaks one language, Arabic, and a second language is very hard to learn, but she fight it, and she got it.")
"I am so excited! I've been waiting for this for a long time, almost ten years. I lost my green card so I had to renew it, and the process took a long time, so that’s why I had to wait. I love the government and the people here. Everything about this country just makes me happy, and I'm so glad I'm a citizen." Stella Ndirangu of Kenya.
"I am so excited! I've been waiting for this for a long time, almost ten years. I lost my green card so I had to renew it, and the process took a long time, so that’s why I had to wait. I love the government and the people here. Everything about this country just makes me happy, and I'm so glad I'm a citizen." Stella Ndirangu of Kenya.
"I'm really excited and a little nervous. St. Louis is comfortable and has nice weather." May Xiuhau Lin of the People's Republic of China
"I'm really excited and a little nervous. St. Louis is comfortable and has nice weather." May Xiuhau Lin of the People's Republic of China
"It’s good here, but it's not as wonderful as we thought it would be. We had jobs in Albania and were living very good there, and when we came here, we had to face a lot of looking for jobs, finding and not finding one, and you have to start from zero." Antoneta Haxholli of Albania
"It’s good here, but it's not as wonderful as we thought it would be. We had jobs in Albania and were living very good there, and when we came here, we had to face a lot of looking for jobs, finding and not finding one, and you have to start from zero." Antoneta Haxholli of Albania
"I was a little nervous for the test that we had to take, but I wasn’t too nervous because I grew up here so I knew everything." Demira Handzic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
"I was a little nervous for the test that we had to take, but I wasn’t too nervous because I grew up here so I knew everything." Demira Handzic of Bosnia and Herzegovina