The U.S. welcomes new citizens in spite of shutdown - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

The U.S. welcomes new citizens in spite of shutdown

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Raajiv Conjee Ram Ravi, new American citizen, "At the end of the day, it's beautiful. You stand in front of the judge and take the oath." "It's really an honor, it's really a privilege to have this certificate in hand."

It's a day 100 people from around the world have been waiting years for.

Raajiv Conjee Ram Ravi, new American citizen, "I truly value what I have in my hand and I will make use of what the country has to offer."

After mounds of paperwork, intense interviews, and a lot of hurry up and wait, today, and from this day on, Victoria Schubert and these 99 others are citizens of the United States.

Victoria Schubert, new American citizen, "I love this country and I'm so thrilled to have found my husband here and this is where I was supposed to end up."

Schubert, a UT Knoxville grad, and South Australian native, wasn't sure today's ceremony would go on.

Victoria Schubert, new American citizen, "When we heard that the citizenship ceremony was this week and then I heard about the government shut down it was a concern."

But because U.S. citizenship and immigration services is largely funded by fees, paid by individuals requesting immigration services and benefits, the agency has retained 97 percent of its workforce despite the shutdown.

Judge Sandy Mattice, United States District Judge, "We may be going through one in Washington today but you sure couldn't tell it here."

A relief for Schubert, who has waited 4 years for this day.

And while she knows there could be delays going forward,  "if I wanted to go ahead and apply for my passport that would probably be delayed I'm guessing."

She says being a part of country she loves, won't be ruined by a political battle.

Victoria Schubert, new American citizen, "I'm really proud to stand here today and be able to say I am an American."

Today's naturalization ceremony was for the Eastern district of Tennessee.

They are held twice a year.

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