49 people become naturalized citizens during ceremony in Carbond - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

49 people become naturalized citizens during ceremony in Carbondale, IL

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

Immigration's been a hot button issue in Washington DC, but on Thursday, it was a cause for celebration in the Heartland..  

Not one, not two - but 49 immigrants from all over the world became naturalized US citizens in Carbondale, Illinois.

It was an emotional experience for Andrea Lebeau.

"A lot things happened today – I laughed, I cried. Very excited because I became an American citizen," said Lebeau.

Lebeau came from Hungary 11 years ago, but she says she's happy to now call Carbondale home. 

"I just love Carbondale and the community and southern Illinois. I just feel like I'm home," said Lebeau.

Sarah Eastman came to the US from Kenya for her education at SIU. She eventually got married and started a family in Carbondale.

"Today me becoming a US citizen – that kind of unites our family and we can be together there's nothing that can really separate us," said Eastman.

Everyone here has their own reason for coming to the U.S. - family, education, better opportunities and even love.

Mounir Ichou, of Morocco, explains his reason for coming.

"In a nutshell, I met this beautiful, very understanding and supportive wife Lori," said Ichou.

"My beautiful daughter is here, so it's her father - he's an American. We met in Budapest, in Hungary. We fall in love and that's how we came originally first here," said Lebeau.

"It's a new beginning, it's like being born, just in a different way."

Even though the event was an official court proceeding, students and faculty at SIU were able to sit in and learn about the process of becoming a citizen in their country.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Bob Kelly named Rend Lake College Foundation Alumnus of the Year

    Bob Kelly named Rend Lake College Foundation Alumnus of the Year

    Saturday, November 18 2017 4:25 AM EST2017-11-18 09:25:24 GMT
    Source: Rend Lake CollegeSource: Rend Lake College

    The Rend Lake College (RLC) Foundation Alumnus of the Year awarded former RLC Communications Director Bob Kelley as 2017 Alumnus of the Year. This is RLC's 50th anniversary, making Kelley's winning special because he was a member of the first-ever RLC freshman class. Following his time at RLC, Kelley transferred to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he majored in journalism, followed by a career in newspaper writing and then back to RLC.

    The Rend Lake College (RLC) Foundation Alumnus of the Year awarded former RLC Communications Director Bob Kelley as 2017 Alumnus of the Year. This is RLC's 50th anniversary, making Kelley's winning special because he was a member of the first-ever RLC freshman class. Following his time at RLC, Kelley transferred to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he majored in journalism, followed by a career in newspaper writing and then back to RLC.

  • KY quarterfinal state playoff games

    KY quarterfinal state playoff games

    Friday, November 17 2017 11:01 PM EST2017-11-18 04:01:23 GMT
    (Source: Pixabay)(Source: Pixabay)

    Several Heartland teams are playing in state playoff games on Friday, Nov. 17. In Class 2A, Mayfield is taking on Owensboro Catholic.

    Several Heartland teams are playing in state playoff games on Friday, Nov. 17. In Class 2A, Mayfield is taking on Owensboro Catholic.

  • Route 72 near Millersville, MO open after deadly crash

    Route 72 near Millersville, MO open after deadly crash

    Friday, November 17 2017 10:53 PM EST2017-11-18 03:53:15 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    The crash happened around 7 p.m. The roadway is now open to traffic.

    The crash happened around 7 p.m. The roadway is now open to traffic.

Powered by Frankly