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- Naturalization Ceremony for 14 refugees kicks off World Refugee Week

SALT LAKE CITY (June 15, 2021) –– To kick off World Refugee Week, 14 refugees became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Utah State Capitol today. 

After completing all of the requirements to become U.S. citizens, including being in the U.S. for at least three years, speaking basic English and passing the civics test, the refugees recited the Oath of Allegiance and became official citizens. Governor Spencer J. Cox congratulated these refugees on their dedication to making a better life for themselves and their families.

“This act of becoming a citizen highlights your resiliency and is an incredible milestone in your journey forward,” said Gov. Cox. “We celebrate your success. Utah was built by people who overcame incredible hardships to make this place the beautiful home we know and love, and it is my pleasure to welcome you as citizens of our great state.”

Utah is home to more than 65,000 refugees from more than 20 different countries. Today’s 14 new citizens are from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bhutan, Burundi, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan and Thailand.

Alex Boye, who serves as Utah’s official refugee ambassador, performed the National Anthem. Naturalization Official Kin Ma administered the Oath of Allegiance, and Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson assisted with presenting the Certificates of Naturalization.

Naima Mohamed, a refugee from Somalia who now works for the Refugee Services Office of the Department of Workforce Services, spoke at the ceremony and shared what it felt like to become a citizen after resettling in Utah.

“It took a lot of strength and tenacity to make it this far,” said Mohamed. “The U.S. gave me the opportunity to learn and speak English fluently, to be the first person in my family to graduate from high school, to obtain Masters of Social Work, and to work as a Social Worker for the State of Utah in the Refugee Services Office.” 

Utah is celebrating World Refugee Day all week with virtual and in-person events. Daily activities include videos featuring food, dance, art and refugee achievements, a virtual film festival and shopping at a virtual global market. There is also a dinner and movie night in partnership with Venture Out! on Friday, June 18, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Cottonwood Regional Park. More information is at Facebook.com/UTRefugeeServices.

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