Jaguar halftime becomes naturalization ceremony for future U.S. citizens

November is a month of thankfulness, and on Sunday it was the beginning of life as an American for several people at the Jaguars football game.

Since 2017, a Thanksgiving tradition has grown in the River City.

In a joint effort with the judges of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, today these people will take the oath to become an American citizen.

Only immigrants who have worked for years to complete the arduous requirements of U.S. citizenship qualify for this momentous occasion to swear their allegiance to the United States and receive their naturalization certificates.

“They’re so excited. They have been waiting for this day. People don’t realize how many years it takes to become a citizen or how long these individuals work and how hard they work to become our fellow citizens,” said Judge Howard. “So it is really the reason that we love doing these ceremonies, is because when you complete the naturalization process, and I have the privilege at the end of declaring that they’re now United States citizens, the looks on their faces are unbridled joy and hope, and it reminds us all held very very lucky we are to be citizens of this great country, and it’s the reason we wanted to bring naturalization ceremonies to public forums like the Jaguars game, so that so many more of our citizens of our community can witness what it means to these people to become our fellow citizens.”

The only difference in the ceremony this year is it will be staged on TIAA Bank Field’s Sky Terrace rather than the field. Naturalization is the final step to become a United States citizen.