Archive for Monday, September 14, 2009

99 become new U.S. citizens at Dole Institute ceremony

At right, Deepasaine Rajendran, from Sri Lanka, and currently a sophomore at KU in pre-med living in Overland Park, recites the Pledge of Allegiance after participating in an Oath of Citizenship during a United States naturalization proceeding Monday, Set. 14, 2009, at the Dole Institute. Rajendran was one of 99 people who became U.S. citizens during the ceremony.

At right, Deepasaine Rajendran, from Sri Lanka, and currently a sophomore at KU in pre-med living in Overland Park, recites the Pledge of Allegiance after participating in an Oath of Citizenship during a United States naturalization proceeding Monday, Set. 14, 2009, at the Dole Institute. Rajendran was one of 99 people who became U.S. citizens during the ceremony.

September 14, 2009


New citizens sworn in at KU

Ninety-nine people were sworn in as new U.S. citizens Monday at a ceremony at KU. Enlarge video

Sean Power has traveled the world. He was born in South Africa, but has also spent significant time in Great Britain and Ireland.

Now, he’s committed himself to America. He joined 98 other foreigners who officially completed the lengthy process of becoming United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony Monday morning in Lawrence.

“It’s a nice achievement,” Power said. “The concepts within the U.S. Constitution precede all other concepts that I’ve seen.”

During the patriotic ceremony at Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive, the group of 99 new citizens from 36 different countries took an oath pledging their allegiance to the United States of America.

And though some of them didn’t have the entire pledge itself memorized — stumbling briefly to find the written words in their programs — they understand the new freedoms and responsibilities associated with being American.

“I’m so excited to be a new citizen, so I can vote,” said Ade Orekoya, formerly of Nigeria. “It’s a blessing.”

Orekoya has lived in the United States for more than 25 years. He became a resident in 1990 and recently completed all the paperwork necessary to become a citizen. After the naturalization ceremony, he held his naturalization certificate and a small American flag proudly.

Olesya Kleyn, formerly of Ukraine, said the day was emotional and a longtime coming.

“It’s a great country; I really love this country,” she said. “It’s great for my kids, for my family.”

The new citizens come from all walks of life. Many of them have jobs in northeast Kansas, with careers ranging from engineers, architects and assistant professors, to nurses, bank tellers and cashiers. Others are retired or homemakers.

“I am always inspired by the countries from which these people come and the work that they do within the United States,” said Deanell Tacha, of Lawrence, a judge on the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals who participated in Monday’s celebration

The ceremony, which has been held at KU each year since 2003, is in conjunction with Constitution Day activities, in recognition of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum, also of Lawrence, presided over the ceremony.

The new citizens were reminded by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., about their civic responsibilities of staying informed, participating in jury duty and voting.

“We are honored to have you as fellow citizens,” Gray-Little told the group and their friends and families.


devobrun 8 years ago

Hooray for our new citizens. Welcome.

frank mcguinness 8 years ago

+1 devobrun

I was expecting to read a bunch of conservative racists comments. They must be biting their tongues.

Brian Laird 8 years ago

The welcoming of new citizens is something that both liberals, conservatives, socialists and libertarians can all celebrate. Anyone, no matter what their political persuasion, who doesn't get a little teary eyed at articles like this, should seek medication.

Lindsey Buscher 8 years ago

OH NO!!!!!! Run for the hills, Todd Tiahrt, the Muslims are coming, THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING!!!

Paul R Getto 8 years ago

Welcome, fellow citizens! These are touching ceremonies. If you have never attended one, give it a try. I watched my daughter's group sing at a Topeka ceremony and it brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes the new citizens get up to tell their stories and many are tragic and impressive. We take our blessings for granted. Fortunately, we are not required to pass the citizenship test to get to vote!

davidsmom 8 years ago

Welcome, new citizens! Thank you for taking the right path!

daddax98 8 years ago

"Why are the forum lefties making such snide comments about this inspiring event?"

it's W's fault!

Bossa_Nova 8 years ago

congratulations to all the new citizens. this is a good country despite some of our shortcomings. i'm confident you will add to our greatness.

FlimFlamMan 8 years ago

These people have worked hard, waited a long time and become citizens through the legal process. Now wouldn't it be nice if they actually had more rights in this country than illegal immigrants do?

Ernest Barteldes 8 years ago

I think these new citizens are specially valuable to us because they chose to be Americans -- much differently from those born in US soil who just take everything for granted.

tbaker 8 years ago

This is awesome! I'm very happy for these people. I congratulate them. They are a blessing to our country. The domestic American birth rate is too low to sustain our culture. We need legal immigrants to survive as a nation and a people.

think_about_it 8 years ago

Apparently your stereotype of conservatives as all being racists is incorrect rooster. Try to swallow some of your hate and vitriol towards other people and open your eyes.

Welcome new citizens.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years ago


There are awesome citizens on both sides of the political debates. No doubt about this whatsoever. My comment was about those who completely misunderstand the liberties this country gives to its citizens, often taking them for granted.

These new citizens not only understand this. They had to study hard to earn their new status, and they have the experience of places where oppression is part of everyday life.

And I applaud them for that.

beatrice 8 years ago

In all honesty, welcome aboard. We are all glad to have you here as an American, as one of us, as part of a nation united!

Now, hurry up and pick a side.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years ago

This is a wonderful event, and it is a very good thing to have people from all over the world in Lawrence. If you talk to them you find out things about their birth country that you would never hear on the news. I have looked up the test they have to take and I can't answer all the questions. i think these people will only make our country better and stronger.

MaryKatesPillStash 8 years ago

I would love to attend one of those ceremonies. I bet it's incredibly touching.

I especially congratulate our new citizens after passing that incredibly difficult exam! I had a Canadian professor who took the exam and said it was quite difficult. Quick, what kind of trees are planted in the White House's front yard?

Shane Garrett 8 years ago

From right to left the new cop on the beat says: You can go, You need a blood test. You have to remove that scarf so I can see your eyes. You are going to jail old man. License and registration. Papers where are the papers! I miss the ole days where once they landed it went something like this: Congratulations, Front line infantry, Front line infantry, Front line infantry. Front line infantry, Reporter! What the he**! Front line infantry. Front line infantry.

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