Refugees to Celebrate World Refugee Day by Becoming U.S. Citizens on June 17

For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2016

Refugees to Celebrate World Refugee Day
by Becoming U.S. Citizens on June 17

Naturalization Ceremony in St. Petersburg on June 17 to Celebrate World Refugee Day

ST. PETERSBURG – On Friday, June 17 in St. Petersburg, 32 local refugees and immigrants will proudly take the Oath of Allegiance to become citizens of the United States. The citizenship ceremony is part of a special World Refugee Day event to honor the courage and resilience of refugees. In 2015, close to 4,500 refugees were resettled to the Tampa Bay Area with the majority arriving to Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

The 32 refugees and immigrants participating in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremony on June 17 hail from the following 15 countries: Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

  • WHO:
    Patti Grogan, Statewide Director of Refugee Services, Department of Children and Families
    Kathy Redman, Southeast Regional Director, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Mark Hunt, Exec. Director of Career Technical and Adult Education, Pinellas County Schools
    Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg
    Al Ruechel, Bay News 9
    Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force
  • WHAT:
    World Refugee Day event with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Ceremony
  • WHEN:
    Friday, June 17, 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • WHERE:
    Pinellas Technical College – St. Pete Campus, 901 34th Street, St. Petersburg 33711

More than 48,000 refugees resettled in Florida last year, with 94% coming from Cuba. The Florida Department of Children & Families’ Refugee Services program is 100% funded by the federal government to coordinate and oversee many of the services provided to refugees who settle in Florida. These services, including employment, adult education, legal assistance, and youth services, have assisted 4,437 newly resettled refugees in the Tampa Bay area in the past year. For more information on refugee services, visit:

Editor’s Note: Refugees will be available to speak with the media to share their story following the conclusion of the naturalization ceremony.

Contact: Natalie Harrell, DCF Communications Director- Suncoast Region,, (813) 784-1898