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Brooklyn federal judges naturalize people whose ceremonies were delayed amid COVID-19

July 27, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Brooklyn Field Office and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York are making up for lost time by hosting naturalization ceremonies for people whose ceremonies were delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixty people from 36 different countries were sworn in as new U.S. citizens during a ceremony presided over by Brooklyn federal judges — Hon. Ramon Reyes and Hon. LaShann Dearcy Hall — at the USCIS office in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. presided over a social-distanced naturalization ceremony.

The ceremony, which was a collaboration between the USCIS and the EDNY, was held in accordance with all CDC guidelines. Attendees were checked for COVID-19 symptoms, contact with anyone with a positive test result or instructions to self-quarantine. The candidates were naturalized in two separate rooms and spaced six feet apart.

The New York office of the USCIS reopened in June and said that it plans to meet its goal of finishing all ceremonies that were postponed by the end of July. Nationwide there were 110,000 people who had their naturalization ceremonies postponed due to the coronavirus, but 106,000 of those had been finalized by July 19 and only 4,000 are waiting for their oath ceremony.

Justice LaShann DeArcy Hall presided over a ceremony on Wednesday where 60 people officially became U.S. citizens.

Judge DeArcy Hall joined the EDNY bench in 2015 after she was nominated by then-President Barack Obama. Prior to that, the Howard University School of Law grad was a commercial litigation trial lawyer and was twice appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as a commissioner on the NYC Taxi and Limo Commission.

Magistrate Judge Reyes served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York before he joined the EDNY as a magistrate in 2006. Prior to working for the SDNY and EDNY, the Brooklyn Law School graduate was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers, a law clerk to Hon. David Trager and a legislative attorney for the NY City Council.

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