LINCOLN - The United States, and state of Nebraska, have 30 new citizens.

On Friday, at the Robert V. Denney Federal Building in Lincoln, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted citizenship to the individuals. U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard presided over the ceremony, welcoming candidates from 15 different countries, now living in towns across Nebraska.

“This is the last time we’ll recognize you as America’s newest citizens,” Gerrard said. “Because now you have all the rights, privileges, responsibilities, and benefits of any other American, no matter how long you’ve been a citizen.”

Candidates were given their certificates, stated the Pledge of Allegiance and took the Oath of Allegiance. Sho Say Gay, originally from Thailand, spoke about the feeling of officially becoming an American.

“I feel happy and wonderful,” Gay said. “Because this country allows me and my family to come into this country.”

However, she did not become a citizen alone. Sho Say Gay and her three sisters were all naturalized together.

“We’ve become someone in this country. Back in our country, we are not citizens. We feel like we are nobody, but right now, we’ve become someone here.”

Sho Say Gay graduated from Southeast Community College in 2017. She now works as a Medical Assistant for the Lincoln Family Medical Center. She described how she plans to continue living out her life as an U.S. citizen.

“I still will believe in God, continue to be a good christian,” Gay said. “I will be a good citizen to help my community and its people.”

The group was shown a video welcoming them as new citizens and received a welcome speech from the judge.

“God bless each of you as new citizens, may God bless your family and friends who are here with you today, may God bless the countries each of you came form, and may God bless your new country, the United States of America.”