Southfield Welcomes 37 New US Citizens with Naturalization Ceremony (video)

BoysGirls_trait_01schmidt-top-in-progressSouthfield Welcomes 37 New US Citizens with SaharaNEW02Naturalization Ceremony (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 19, 2016)

Southfield, MI – Southfield City Council President Myron Frasier stood before 37 people about to take the oath to become US Citizens Friday, and welcomed them.  “One of Southfield’s key messages is ‘a place for everyone.’  It is this belief that our culture, our religious diversity, is a strength that weaves together the fabric of our communities. There truly is a place for everyone in the City of Southfield.”

garden16_john-randle-sr_janThe new citizens came from Albania, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Taiwan, and Yemen.  Though the swearing in was held in Southfield, as the opening to their annual International Festival, those taking part in the ceremony live all through SE Michigan.

Saif Salih and Sanarya Amam came to Dearborn Heights when their daughter was only a year old, and began the process for applying for citizenship right away.  Their daughter is now just a month shy of her seventh birthday.  She too is a citizen now thanks to her parents’ oath.  When their next child is born, they will automatically be one.

“This has been my dream since I was a little girl, to live in the US and be a US Citizen,” Amam said.  “I love everything here.  My home, the schools, and it is safe here.  Everyone is very kind.”

“For me it is the safety here, and the freedom.  Baghdad is not safe for us and our daughter,” Salih, who works as a shuttle driver, said. “This has always been our dream.  To give a good life to our family.”

For Dawnette Jefferson becoming a US Citizen was never thought until six years ago.  At the age of 54 she applied for lynn_stange_07a passport for a trip and was denied. Jefferson had been born in Bahamas and at the age of three she and her brother were adopted by a man in the US Air Force and his wife, and brought to the United States.  Jefferson knew they had been adopted, but did not know that the paperwork had never been completed.

Up until that point, Jefferson had a typical American life.  She had a social security card, attended school, graduated from college, got married, and even voted.  “The hardest part for me was turning in that voter card. Everyone here today, they talked about how important it is to vote, to do their duty as citizens.  And that’s how I was raised. So that was hard.”

The unexpected process took six years and a lot of searching for documents.  Jefferson’s parents and brother had passed away, but she did have her original birth certificate.  She hired an attorney that specializes in immigration who helped her through the process.  When asked how she feels MBREW draft onenow, Jefferson said “Relief.  I’m so relieved that it’s all done.”  She added she was glad her brother did not have to go through the process, and that he passed away without even knowing he was not a citizen.

The speakers focused on the basic message of welcome and of affirming the worth of those who have taken a chance to better their lives by becoming part of The United States.

“We need your voices now more than ever,” said District Law Clerk Jessica Wall.  “Your presence here in America makes life better for everyone around you.  Please don’t let the words or actions of other ever make you doubt that you are the best that America has to offer.  Congratulations again, and thank you for being part of our nation’s story.”

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