23 new U.S. citizens sworn in at Acadia National Park

Published: Sep. 11, 2019 at 4:07 PM EDT
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A naturalization ceremony was held Wednesday in Acadia National Park for people representing 12 countries around the world.

As part of a national agreement between U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the National Park Service, some naturalization ceremonies are sometimes held in national parks.

"It's one of my favorite days of the year." Said Mike Madell, Deputy Superintendent of Acadia National Park.

Inez McFarlane Williams is one of 23 candidates who came to the shores of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park to take the oath of allegiance. Despite the damp morning, the candidates for citizenship were all smiles.

"I like the outdoors. The scenery. My only thing, it's a little cool."

Williams came to Bar Harbor from Jamaica.

"And since I came, I haven't left! I love it so much here in Bar Harbor. It's nice. The people are so friendly, and it's crime free!"

Sheila Pascual and her husband Junie Rentosa came to the US from the Phillipines in 2004.

"When I finished med school, I wanted to do further training here in this country." says Pascual. "We built a career here. We raised our kids here. To our kids this is home. To us now, it's home."

"It's so fun to see the smiles and see the achievement of everything they've worked so hard for." said Madell.

Williams was exuberant. "I am just happy for everyone who made it this far and I hope we meet sometime and have a drink!"

"They're the reason the parks were created." said Madell. "All American citizens are."

The new citizens now have the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful places in the country and call it their own.