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Archive for Tuesday, September 17, 2013

102 become citizens in Dole Institute ceremony

September 17, 2013, 1:10 p.m. Updated September 17, 2013, 8:06 p.m.

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Originally from South Sudan, Ayak Mawin, of Olathe, takes the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony Tuesday morning at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Originally from South Sudan, Ayak Mawin, of Olathe, takes the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony Tuesday morning at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Originally from Colombia, Leonardo Polo, of Kansas City, takes the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony Tuesday morning at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Originally from Colombia, Leonardo Polo, of Kansas City, takes the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony Tuesday morning at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Right hands raised, 102 people from 40 countries stood and recited the oath to become American citizens Tuesday morning at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Standing tall in the crowd wearing a radiant gold dress was Ayak Mawin, of South Sudan, who immigrated to the United States 15 years ago. This ceremony was the realization of a dream for Mawin, who had applied twice before for citizenship.

“It’s just amazing,” Mawin said. “I’m finally a citizen, and I am able to travel and do so many other things.”

Mawin, 38, who now lives in Olathe, has not traveled home to South Sudan since leaving when she was 10; she lived in other countries before coming to the United States. She now has two children, including a daughter who is a student in Kansas University’s School of Business. The golden dress Mawin wore Monday was handmade by her mother, who died several years ago, a victim of war violence.

Tears came to Mawin’s eyes as U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum told the candidates that they were officially U.S. citizens.

“This means everything,” Mawin said.

Mawin was one of several candidates for citizenship from South Sudan. Other countries represented included Thailand, Uzbekistan, Iran, Iraq, Peru and Somalia.

Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza and former executive vice chancellor for university relations at KU, was among the speakers at the ceremony.

“This is just the beginning,” she told the new citizens. “Take this day and turn it into a great future.”

Murguia spoke about her experience of being born to Mexican immigrant parents and rising to work for former President Bill Clinton.

“These are the stories of America, of the American dream,” she said. “Turn today into that for your own families. Go out there and make a difference in your communities and seize all of the opportunities that today has afforded you.”

Hector Magana, 31, of El Salvador, was the first of the candidates to be introduced in Hansen Hall, which had been transformed into a U.S. District Courtroom for the naturalization ceremony. The ceremony was the 10th of its kind at the Dole Institute of Politics since 2003.

Magana works in Ottawa at a Walmart distribution plant and supports his wife, 6-year-old son and several family members still in El Salvador. Magana acknowledged, “I’m a little nervous,” just before the ceremony.

Among the guest speakers was KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, who congratulated the new citizens.

“Today you remind us what a precious gift citizenship is,” Gray-Little said.

About 200 family members and supporters stood behind the candidates holding small American flags. For most candidates, the road to Tuesday’s ceremony was long and challenging. Mawin said her application process took six months. Magana’s took five.

“I’m very grateful,” Magana said. “This is a blessing.”

Comments

Liberty275 7 months ago

Welcome to America, fellow citizens. We are glad you are here.

2

Mike Gerhardt 7 months ago

Welcome, my fellow Americans!

1

patkindle 7 months ago

congrats, this is how the American dream is supposed to work

1

Seth Peterson 7 months ago

I totally missed that this was going on, would have been great to have attended.

0

pigballin 7 months ago

Dole is a creep. He raised taxes by getting medical costs eliminated as deductible on income fax returns years ago. Thus a tax increase on millions of Americans. He was a libtard while in the republican party.

0

homechanger 7 months ago

Thanks for becoming legal U.S. citizens. Thanks for not jumping the border and breaking the law to be here. Thanks for avoiding public assistance and working hard to become something that benefits society. Thanks for choosing Kansas as your home. Thanks!

13

Thomas Bryce 7 months ago

Congratulations to all of Our New Citizens. Please Register to vote as soon as Possible. Keep your Citizenship Papers handy. You May Have to show them several times just to have a chance to Vote In Kansas.

8

Karl_Hungus 7 months ago

"It’s just amazing,” Mawin said. “I’m finally a citizen and I am able to travel and do so many other things.”

I wouldn't look forward to voting as that is a tough thing to do today...

0

Jean Robart 7 months ago

May they never lose their enthusiasm at being American citizens.

7

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