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Thousands are becoming US citizens at drive-thru naturalization ceremonies

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  • Thousands of people are completing the process of becoming US citizens at drive-thru naturalization ceremonies.
  • Social distancing has moved these ceremonies outdoors — and they’ve helped the US get through a backlog of more than 100,000 citizenship candidates this summer.
  • For the newly minted US citizens, these drive-thru ceremonies provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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Taking an oath of allegiance is the last step for people going through the long process of becoming US citizens.

The ceremony typically takes place in large venues or courthouses, with hundreds or even thousands of people standing shoulder to shoulder in front of a judge.

But social distancing has moved these events outdoors, where judges preside over drive-thru naturalization ceremonies at scenic locations like Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.

Now, soon-to-be citizens simply drive up to the ceremonies in their cars, hand over their green cards, take the oath, and leave newly minted citizens of the United States.

The decision to hold drive-thru naturalization ceremonies has helped US Citizenship and Immigration Services get through its backlog of 110,000 candidates. However, the citizenship process is expected to become even more difficult and costly in November, when a new Trump policy takes effect.

In the meantime, for the new US citizens, these outdoor ceremonies provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ll never forget. 

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