SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — It had been four months since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in San Diego staged a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens.

The events had been on hold due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

So today, instead of being in a giant hall like normal ceremonies, 147 people had to take the oath while in their cars inside a parking lot at the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma, Calif.

Staff from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in San Diego welcome people who were about to take oath and become citizens. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Participants were asked to drive up, stay in their cars, recite the oath, until finally being handed their certificates.

“Awesome, awesome, awesome,” said an excited Maria Garcia. “I did my interview in March before the lockdown, happy to get a note last week.”

Garcia, who was born in the Philippines, she she skipped out on work to be at the event.

Others from 42 different countries also participated, including Nada Arkwazee, who came to the U.S. from Iraq.

Nada Arkwazee holds up her new U.S. Citizenship certificate. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“I’m so happy, so proud to be U.S. citizen,” said Arkwazee, who waited three and a half years to go through the process.

A relatively short wait if you compare it to Estudillo Amigon’s path to citizenship. He said he waited 50 years to do it.

“My wife is American, my daughter is American, they said ‘let’s do it, do it,'” said Amigon, originally from Puebla, Mexico.

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