Melissa Block | KERA News

Melissa Block

Bangladesh. Myanmar. Benin. Somalia. Haiti. Ireland. South Sudan. Iraq.

One by one, 59 immigrants from 29 countries rise before a federal judge in a Kansas City, Mo., courtroom and proudly state their country of origin.

Some have brought their young children, who watch from the audience. All look eager and intent. This is a big moment: They are about to become U.S. citizens.

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are expected to be naturalized as U.S. citizens in ceremonies around the country, much like this one.