Last month in Brooklyn Center, over 400 people from 70 countries took the oath of allegiance to the United States and became naturalized citizens. The ceremony was held in Brooklyn Park at the Earle Brown Heritage Center.
One of the 431 new citizens was Perpetual Garyeazon, who was born in Liberia.”[I] am so happy,” she said simply. She and her cousin were thrilled to be included in the group.
A federal judge from St. Paul, Gregory Kishel, administered the oath to the immigrants-turned-citizens. Judge Kishel welcomed the new citizens, but also reminded them that becoming a citizen carries both rights and responsibilities.
For example, voting in elections is an important privilege that only citizens have. Other legal residents, such as those with green cards, do not.
Judge Kishel also spoke about how important it is for people from other cultures to affirm the value of their culture of origin. Instead, they should celebrate it as part of the rich diversity of cultures in America.
President Obama echoed that point in a video message.
Representatives of the League of Women Voters were in attendance at the ceremony to assist the new citizens with voter registration.
Minnesota is fortunate to have such vibrant immigrant communities, and to be able to hold naturalization ceremonies frequently.
Source: “Over 400 take Oath of Allegiance as new citizens,” Mshale, 8-24-12
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