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Portland naturalization ceremony: May 11, 2018

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    Portland naturalization ceremony: May 11, 2018 - Staff photos by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Takry Khamwandee, originally of Thailand, holds her 8-month-old daughter, Prim Arnott, during a naturalization ceremony Friday at Lyman Moore Middle School. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized 39 candidates for citizenship on Friday from 26 countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, People's Republic of China, Congo Kinshasa, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Republic of China-Taiwan, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

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    Takry Khamwandee, originally of Thailand, leaves Friday's naturalization ceremony at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland with her 8-month-old daughter, Prim Arnott, and her husband, Alan Arnott. Khamwandee had made multiple trips to Maine to learn English. “I expected to go home, but plans changed when I met this guy,” she says of her husband.

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    Takry Khamwandee discusses voter registration with Elizabeth Miller, a volunteer for the League of Women Voters of Maine Portland Area, on Friday after the naturalization ceremony. The league registers new citizens to vote after each naturalization ceremony.

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    The Lyman Moore Chorus, accompanied by members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, performs the national anthem at the start of a naturalization ceremony on Friday.

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    Siblings Amata Binti and Joel Muheto look at photos of their uncle Yannick Ndayisenga, originally of Rwanda, who had just become a U.S. citizen at a naturalization ceremony at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland on Friday. Binti, who is working on her own citizenship, said the event made her envision her own naturalization, which she estimates will take three years to achieve. "It's so emotional, so exciting. I can't wait for mine," she said. "It's a lengthy process, but it's worth it."

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    The Nel family from South Africa was among those sworn in during Friday's naturalization ceremony at Lyman Moore Middle School. From left are Adrienne, Johan, Dalena and Nick. Mother Dalena said the family moved to the United States to "find new opportunities for our children, our very smart and honorable children." Nel said her son, Johan, is a junior at Clark University, and daughter Adrienne is soon starting law school. "They're excelling," she said.

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    Astra Schwertschkow, originally of Canada, holds hands with her 3-year-old daughter, Isela, while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance shortly after being sworn in as a U.S. citizen Friday.

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    Ronger Liu, of China, waves a flag as she arrives for a naturalization ceremony at Lyman Moore Middle School on Friday, when she was sworn in.

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    Eight-month-old Prim Arnott clings to her mother, Takry Khamwandee, during a naturalization ceremony at Lyman Moore Middle School on Friday. Prim, who was born in the United States, is already a citizen.

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