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Citizenship ceremonies look different amid pandemic

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, people would pile into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building for their citizenship ceremonies, but that’s no longer the case.

On Thursday, the citizenship ceremony in southwest Miami-Dade was looking a lot different.

Typically, the room is filled with family and friends of the new American citizens, but now only 10 people at a time are allowed to partake in the ceremony.

Seats were also spread far apart inside.

Some people were seen looking through the window from outside to get a glimpse of their loved one becoming a U.S. citizen.

“It’s very, very emotional,” Oscar Veneziani told Local 10 News.

Veneziani patiently waited outside for the mother of his children, Monica Panizza, to finish her ceremony.

The couple from Argentina didn’t let the new ways of doing the ceremony ruin their celebration though.

“It’s very important, you know, when you move from your country to another country, like this one -- the best country in the world,” Veneziani said.

On Thursday, 40 people in southwest Miami-Dade became citizens in a shortened 6-minute ceremony -- the new way of being welcomed into the great American melting pot.

Moving forward, citizenship ceremonies will happen Monday through Thursday.

Officials say they expect to have about 120 people per day with 10 people going through the ceremony at a time.