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Five Sailors Become Citizens Under Navy's First "Naturalization at Basic Training" Ceremony

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Five sailors became U.S. citizens during the first naturalization at a Navy basic training graduation ceremony in Great Lakes, Illinois on Friday, July 23. Over 1,000 sailors marched into the ceremonial drill hall at the Navy Recruit Training Center for their recruit graduation ceremony.

After the Pass-In-Review and presentation of the Nation’s Colors, USCIS Associate Director for Field Operations Debra Rogers administered the Oath of Allegiance to:
  • Abdisalam Omar, age 24, from Somalia by way of France.
  • Yojana Khatiwoda, 27, from Nepal
  • Aasish Nepal, 26, from Nepal
  • Daniel Denge, 24, from Kenya 
  • Samuel Njuguna, 28, from Kenya
The five sailors will all serve as linguists with the Navy SEALS and joined the Navy under the Defense Department’s pilot program, “Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest” – or “MAVNI.” The program allows immigrants who have critical medical or linguistic skills to join the military and qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship if they meet all other general qualifications.

The ceremony marked the continued expansion of the successful USCIS "Naturalization at Basic Training" initiative, which started in August 2009, and has already expedited citizenship for more than 1,000 soldiers at the end of Army basic training.