ST. PAUL, Minn. (Sept. 6, 2016) — Minn. State Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-67) on Tuesday welcomed 533 refugees and immigrants who were sworn in as new citizens of the United States of America by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau of the United States District Court. There were two ceremonies Tuesday, the first in the morning at the St. Paul River Centre and the second in the afternoon at the Schneider Theater in Bloomington.
Hawj is the first state senator of Asian descent to give the welcoming remarks at an Oath of Allegiance ceremony celebrating new citizens. Hawj came to America as a Hmong refugee child following the War in Southeast Asia in 1976. He took the Oath of Allegiance and became a USA citizen in 1982.
“You are the brave and have sacrificed much. You demonstrated resiliency … and have overcome much adversity, to be where you are today,” Hawj said before an audience of new citizens and over 2,000 family members and sponsors. “I was born in Laos and came to this county as a refugee in 1976 so I know firsthand of the challenges of preparing for and becoming a citizen.
“I am sure, you and your children will proudly care for this land, make improvements in our progress, and protect this country, when called upon. I have faith in you, as earlier Americans had in me.”