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New citizens take oath in Southport

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- July 4. What a day to become a US citizen. In Southport yesterday, 125 people celebrated America's birthday by doing just that. It was the largest group of new citizens ever participate in the Southport ceremony.

"I've lived here for 10 years," new citizen Nissa Labhart said. "I have a wonderful husband, a wonderful family and it was just time."

Labhart moved to the United States from Perth, Australia, in September 2002 after meeting her husband, who is a Marine. She began the process of becoming an American citizen 10 years ago.

"This year I decided I was going to take the plunge and become an American Citizen and reap the benefits of being able to vote," she said.

She completed that process Sunday along side 124 other people. The new citizens represent 52 countries around the world. This was the 14th annual 4th of July naturalization ceremony. Superior court judge Ola Lewis was the keynote speaker, and Jeffrey Sapko from the Department of Homeland Security administered the Oath of United States Citizenship to the candidates.

According to Fran Carlsen, co-chair of the event, this was the first year all those who registered made it out the ceremony.

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