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WQAD.com

For the first time in nearly six-months, Illinois is welcoming the country's newest citizens.

40 people took part in the first naturalization since the start of the pandemic.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Hannah Adams says that, "When we came here five years ago, we literally had like nothing." This 19-year-old is a mother's daughter.

"I am very proud of her." Friday August 14th, is a day she, her brother and step-dad will never forget.

Together at Schwiebert Park in Rock Island, they celebrated a tremendous milestone in their family history.

"I am going to be an American citizen." Hannah's mum, Jacinta Weller took the oath to become an American citizen.

"My kids are also american citizens," says Jacinta. The mother of two moved to America five years ago.

"There's a lot of opportunity here in America, like jobs."

She perserved, working to support her children, creating a life in Illinois.

"We've got pretty much everything and we are living pretty comfortable," says her daughter Hannah.

The first ceremony since the outbreak, masks were required and social distancing was implemented.

"We know how much these people wait and wait for this event, and its not something we enjoy doing," says Chief Deputy Clerk, Denise Koester. 

Ms Koester has been part of the naturalization process for 29 years. "I have done over 100 of these ceremonies" She says its always an emotional time.

"People have waited years to get to this point and this is a special year because it's an election year, they want to be naturalized to vote."

The next ceremony is scheduled for August 26th and will be held in Peoria.