Nearly 200 people took the Oath of Allegiance Thursday morning at a naturalization ceremony in Landmark Center in St. Paul, and hundreds more took the oath in the afternoon.
U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim led the morning crowd of immigrants in the oath, part of the ceremony that made them the nation's newest citizens.
They included a Coptic Orthodox bishop from Egypt, people from France, Australia, Laos, Nigeria and Uruguay, among other nations. Nearly a third of the group was from Somalia.
They were the first of nearly 400 people scheduled to be naturalized in St. Paul Thursday.
About 9,000 Minnesotans a year become citizens at ceremonies like the one in downtown St. Paul. Hundreds more took the oath with Judge Donovan Frank Thursday at a second Landmark Center ceremony in the afternoon.