It’s Veteran’s Day, and this morning 10 servicemen and women will become naturalized U.S. citizens under a federal program launched in 2001.
The special ceremony starts at 10:15 a.m. at the Durham County Human Services Building, 414 E. Main St.
Under the program, which started after the 9/11 attacks, non-citizen military members and veterans—and their families—may be eligible for expedited naturalization if they meet certain requirements.
In the first six months of this year, at least 157 military members have been naturalized in North Carolina, according to federal data.
The Raleigh field office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported it approved 157 applications from members of the military from January to June 2014. The Raleigh field office includes 54 counties in central and eastern North Carolina.
The Charlotte field office did not release data on military applicants for privacy reasons.
Overall, nearly 1,500 civilians—those who are not in the military—have applied for naturalization through the Raleigh office. Of those, 1,348 were approved and 58 were denied. Another 2,194 are pending.
The Charlotte field office received 1,679 petitions for naturalization, 1,304 of which were approved. Another 1,919 are pending, and 125 were denied.
Since 2001, 78,000 members of the Armed Forces have become U.S. citizens under the program.