New US citizens take oath at Guaranteed Rate Field ahead of White Sox game

Thursday, May 16, 2024
New US citizens take oath ahead of White Sox game
New United States citizens took the oath at a Guaranteed Rate Field naturalization ceremony ahead of a Chicago White Sox game on Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A sense of pride permeated the air at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Wednesday.

Dozens of people from different countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens before the White Sox took on the Washington Nationals.

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It is a solemn oath, usually something new citizens would say in a courtroom or another federal building. However, this group of new citizens were standing behind home plate at Guaranteed Rate field.

Sabrina Karakaya has been waiting for the moment since she was six years old.

"I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, so 100% a Sox fan," Karakaya said.

She said that makes the setting of the ceremony even more special for her.

White Sox rookie Brian Ramos handed out Sox caps to the new citizens. Born in Cuba, he is currently going through the citizenship process himself right now.

The White Sox were happy to host the ceremony at a home of the country's national pastime.

"Their excitement to be here today, excitement to be US.. citizens, the fact we get to be part of that for them and their families is really special," White Sox Vice President Christine O'Reilly said.

Judge Thomas Durkin has officiated many naturalization ceremonies, but never one that also included duties of throwing out the first pitch. He managed to throw a strike.

"What a great way to celebrate new citizens," Durkin said.

Before they left the field, the new citizens lined up along the third baseline, right in front of the players, for the National Anthem. It will likely be the most meaningful time they ever hear the song.

"It's a dream come true. I feel like now I'm 100% complete," new citizen Maria Calderon said. "It's super exciting."

The new citizens all have the right to root for whatever baseball team they like, but after having one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Sox hope they leave as South Side fans.