Naturalization ceremony inducts 19 new citizens

Published 1:01 am Friday, February 9, 2018

Natchez — America grew slightly larger as 19 people from around the world took their oath of citizenship here in Natchez.

The Naturalization Ceremony took place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the United States Courthouse with U.S. District Judge David Bramlette III presiding.

“We’re here this morning because you (citizenship honorees) have seen the lighthouse beckoning you,” Bramlette said. “Each of you have your own story to tell. … Your hopes and dreams are as diverse as the regions that brought you here. You’ve come, perhaps, to escape social oppression and discrimination and some strife, but all of you are here to enjoy the justice, which is available to you in the land of the free.

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“The pathway that was put out for some of you, perhaps all of you, has been emotionally and financially exhausting,” Bramlette said. “Democracy is not easy.”

Audrey Lee Fortin, from South Korea, said she was an exchange student to Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia in the eighth grade and has been in America for more than 11 years.

She said the last seven years in America were perhaps the most challenging. She is now a first-year dental student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

“I have my whole family there (in South Korea),” Fortin said. “I have mixed feelings right now. I had to give up my Korean citizenship to become a U.S. citizen. … It’s bittersweet but it’s good to be American.”

Fatou Kine Niang from Senegal, Africa said she has been in America for a long time before becoming a citizen.

“I love America,” Niang said.

She said her biggest challenge was leaving her family behind.

Bramlette said there are many privileges to becoming a citizen, and he has full confidence the honorees will not take advantage of these privileges.

“We are here by birth,” he said. “We did not make a conscious decision to be here. We have inherited the freedom that we enjoy, and the opportunity that we have. But you (honorees) … did make a choice to become citizens. The privileges that you did not inherit are the privileges you have earned.

“We welcome you to America … with confidence that you will work hard, that you will treat your fellow men and women with dignity, and remember that you have the right to fail … but you do not have the right to cause others to fail.”

Bramlette also addressed the current issue of immigration.

“If you turn on the television, you will hear current issues and arguments about immigration,” he said. “You as new citizens have an opportunity to have a positive influence upon these discussions … The eyes of the nation will be upon you.”

Listed are the Honorees:

• Dharmendra Patel, India

•Aiden Cole Tran, Vietnam

• Molly Hilal Yildirim, Turkey

• Ala Marandiuc Cibotarica, Moldova

•James Truong, VietnamLucie Khachan Choufani, Lebanon

• Geetika Gupta, India

• Chanda Diolola Demetri

•Audrey Lee Fortin, South Korea

• Varinder Preet Kaur Jammu, India

• Osama Shihadeh Nasser, Kuwait

• Nathalie  Colombo Grullon, Dominican Republic

• Nongluck Suree Brackett, Thailand

• Fatou Kine Niang, Senegal

• Alexa Aiyanna Cervantes, Chile

• Lazmia Abdulla Alsaidi, Yemen

• Bella Bulauan Guzman, Philippines

• Asmahan Abdulkawi Kahtan Ali, Yemen

• Hannah Louise Bailey, Australia.


Story by Sabrina Simms