U.S. District Court Judge Michael Newman read the oath into a microphone at the bottom of the second round. Standing behind the excavation at the third base, with their right hand raised, the group of naturalized citizens was in front of a stadium crowd of over six thousand people.
A group of 25 immigrants took an oath of citizenship during the Dayton Dragons Baseball game on Thursday night. This was the second time the Southern District Court of Ohio held a naturalization ceremony at Day Air Ballpark. The first was in 2019.
“It’s our way of reaching out to society and letting them know what our rights do, but also reaching out to the general public,” Newman said.
According to Newman, the idea came to host the ceremony at a baseball game from Rebecca Fanning, who works for the administration office of the US courts. Fanning took up the idea of arranging ceremonies at smaller league matches a couple of years ago. And when they brought up Dayton, Newman says they agreed.
He says that there is nothing more American than a baseball game.
“You were not a citizen at the beginning of the ceremony and at the end of the ceremony,” Newman said. “[Now] you are a citizen. It is very powerful. And I’m really honored as a judge to preside. ”
The new residents come from 20 different countries, including France, Iran and Guyana. The Southern District of Ohio will hold another naturalization ceremony at Great American Ball Park before the Cincinnati Reds game on August 31st.