BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – Amid the normal Saturday shopping crowd, commerce took a brief time out the Mall of America Saturday. In the mall’s rotunda, folks got a glimpse of something very special – people taking their first steps toward American citizenship.

Tim Counts, spokesman with the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, says the swearing-in ceremony brings home the very definition of what it means to be a citizen.

“It really brings home what American citizenship means, and all the benefits we really have,” Counts said.

Pride beamed in the faces of 90 children and adults who represent the cultures of 19 separate countries.

“I’ve been waiting to become a citizen from the United States, and this is the day,” smiled Moufidat, who emigrated from Togo.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Tony Leung would administer the oath of allegiance. It was the same oath he took as a young boy from Hong Kong, back in 1973.

“Because not many years ago, I was in those chairs,” Leung said.

With flags in their hands and opportunity in their heads, each newly-sworn citizen has unique dreams.

“I would like to design things like robots or something in the future. My dad’s helping me,” said 11-year-old Samwin, who came to this country with his family from Burma.

But whether from Burma or Laos, Ethiopia or China – all are now Americans.


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