Photos: Naturalization ceremony honors 19 new U.S. citizens in Casper

Manuel Alonso Aboytes leaves the courtroom after becoming a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony on Monday, May 13, at the Townsend Justice Center in Casper. Aboytes says he arrived in Casper from Mexico in 1979 for ranch work. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

In a packed courtroom on Monday afternoon, Chief United States District Judge of Wyoming Scott Skavdahl asked Mariya Krueger why she left Uzbekistan for Casper, Wyoming.

Mariya answered with one word as she pointed to her husband and young daughter.

“Love.”

Article continues below...

Aline Karin Cassidy, formally of Germany, hugs a friend after a naturalization ceremony on Monday afternoon. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The response wasn’t uncommon among the 19 people who took an oath to love and protect the United States. People from countries like China, South Africa, Canada, Denmark and Mexico who now have families and jobs in Wyoming.

Immigrants from 12 countries were represented on Monday afternoon during the naturalization ceremony.

The ceremonies often take place in a larger courtroom at the Federal Courthouse, but due to scheduling conflicts it was held in a tighter space at the Townsend Justice Center.

The new citizens were given certificates from the Clerk of Court, offered gifts from patriotic and business organizations, and watched a brief video by President Trump.

The ceremony is a lighthearted celebration ending months of paperwork, testing and background checks to gain citizenship.

According to its website, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services helps up to 750,000 immigrants in the naturalization process.

After about 90 minutes in the overflowing courtroom, the 19 naturalized Wyoming citizens left the Townsend building with their families and headed to their communities around the state.