For thousands of immigrants each month, the last stop on the road to U.S. citizenship happens not in a fluorescent-lit federal building, but in the gilded halls of Oakland’s Paramount Theatre.
For the last several years, the downtown landmark has been hosting up to two naturalization ceremonies a month, under the guidance of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The most recent one, which took place on Wednesday, Oct. 16, drew more than 1,200 people from 101 countries. For many, the ceremony was the last step in a years- or even decades-long journey.
Oakland North talked with these new U.S. citizens just after the event ended.