Oaths, Smiles, Tears, And Hopes: America Gains 40 New Citizens

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Inside the ornate, marble lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, more than three dozen people from across the globe gathered to officially become citizens of the United States.

Chief Judge Solomon Oliver presided over the ceremony. He said people are drawn to America for its ideals and potential. At the same time, he acknowledged many rights only came after struggles and conflict…like when women got the vote in 1920, with the adoption of the 19th Amendment.

“And so a beautiful part of our Constitution, is the fact that the Constitution itself can be amended, can be updated, can be corrected. If it had not been for that power, you can see very much how our society would be in turmoil.”

Then, Judge Oliver gave the Oath of Allegiance, as the group held their up their right hands up and repeated after him.

Women in head scarves stood next to men dressed in priest’s garments or business suits. Some stood stoically, while a few leaned against canes. For all of their differences, everyone in the room shared a moment of relief and excitement when Judge Oliver paused, and announced….

"Congratulations, you are now citizens…," Oliver said, as the lobby burst into lengthy applause.

With citizenship, opportunities abound. That’s the takeaway for Yang Xiong, originally from Laos. He says he’d like to look into college:

“I feel like it’s a new life. I just feel like my door has just now opened, to the big world, y’know?”

Malissia Lovelace of Jamaica just graduated from Baldwin Wallace. She says citizenship is a major boost for her career path.

“The majority of jobs that I was looking for within public health, they required for me to be a U.S. citizen, so this….it just happens to open a new door and much more possibilities for me!”

Fadi Hamed from Jordan agrees.

“I’m a pulmonologist and intensivist.” (BULL: At the Clinic?) “Yes. The whole process to getting my position here was, a dream coming true! And right now I think there are more things that I can do, inside the U.S.”

Organizers say this was the first time a naturalization ceremony was staged at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Constitution Day is also known as Citizenship Day.

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