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'I am so blessed to have this' — 46 people from around the world become US citizens at naturalization ceremony

Posted at 3:08 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 15:16:26-05

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — It’s a moment and a piece of paper that many have waited years — some, their whole life — to come to fruition. Forty-six people from around the globe passionately pursued the long road to become a citizen, and on Friday at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, those eager applicants saw their hopes and dreams come alive with an oath, a piece of a paper, and the title of citizen of the United States of America.

Vito Ranieri, who is originally from Italy, can attest to the long process of taking the steps towards citizenship. A resident of Euclid for the past 51 years, Ranieri admits his fear of the process played a role in pursuing the path towards citizenship.

“It’s a long journey to be where I am at right now and it takes a long time, but it’s gratifying. It’s great,” he said.

He said becoming a U.S. citizen joins his marriage and the day his children were born as the top three moments of his life.

“When I walked on stage, I had one thought: ‘I am finally a U.S. citizen,’” he said.

High schoolers at Brecksville/Broadview Heights High Schools sat in the auditorium, witnessing a key moment in the lives of the dozens of people who made the pledge.

During the naturalization ceremony, participants take an oath to complete the process of becoming a citizen. The ceremony was conducted by the U.S. District Court of Northern Ohio federal judge Christopher Boyko, who is also a community member who presided over the event.

Joelle Magyar, superintendent for the district, said the men and women becoming U.S. citizens represents the true epitome of an American dream.

“The men and woman who we are here to honor and recognize today demonstrate to us the living proof that America continues to stand to welcome and eagerly embrace those from abroad who choose to make the United States their home. There are few men and women for whom I have greater affection and respect, you in every embodiment represent the American dream," she said during an opening statement.

Originally from West Africa, specifically from Gambia, Mariama Juldeh Bah Jalloh came to the U.S. in 2014 when she married a U.S. citizen. After living in America for five years, she was able to start the process of becoming a citizen — a process she says was a long one, which included a booklet with 100 questions for the citizenship test, but in the end, a journey worth taking,

"I believe that I am so blessed to have this. There are a lot of people out there who tried to come into America a different way. Some people used the sea, they died. Some people use another means but they didn’t succeed. Some were deported back home. But I came with the right means, and glory be to God, I succeeded."

Since his father came to the U.S. to go to school years ago, Samir Farsane, originally from Morocco, always envisioned himself in the United States.

Farsane's father went to school and worked for several airlines before going back to Morocco, but that didn't stop him from wanting to pursue his dream. When he finally walked up on stage during the ceremony, an overwhelming feeling of achievement came over him.

"It’s great to feel you have a say in what happens politically in the country. It’s a great feeling that you are a part of the greatest nation on the planet. You can travel the world with the U.S. passport. You can be protected and be required to also fulfill duties. It’s a lot that goes through your mind when you are on the stage," he said when describing how it felt to take the oath.

His daughter, who missed school for the occasion, was there to witness a major moment in her father's life.