December 9, 2022
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (January 30, 2010) – As part of a federal government exhibition at the Mall of America last weekend, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services held two Naturalization Ceremonies Saturday morning in the Rotunda.

Jae-yoon Thrash, 2, son of Zan and Allison Thrash of St. Paul, was adopted by the couple in Seoul, South Korea in September 2008. Although the adoption process completed the naturalization of Jae-yoon, it took another 15 months of work to gain the certificate of citizenship.

By TOM LAVENTURE
AAP staff writer
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (January 30, 2010) – As part of a federal government exhibition at the Mall of America last weekend, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services held two Naturalization Ceremonies Saturday morning in the Rotunda.
The first group of 30 new Americans had origins in Argentina, Burma, Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Germany, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Syria, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, Yemen, Russia, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Liberia, Ethiopia, Laos and Somalia.
The second ceremony was for children who were either adopted or born in another country and came here at a young age.
The events was officiated by the Honorable Paul A. Magnuson, the Senior Judge for the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. He said most courtrooms don’t have roller coasters overhead but it is for all intensive purposes the Rotunda became a courtroom for the ceremony.
Magnuson said the mall ceremony is special in that is important to those becoming citizens, but also for others to see how this process works. He noted that it is difficult enough to learn English but to have to recite the old English of the oath of allegiance must seem confusing but that it remains as it is for a reason.
He told the new Americans to look around and to know that with the exception of First Nation people, everyone watching or walking once recited that same oath, or their ancestors did. He said the naturalization process is one thing that unites us.
“It’s the one thing that we have in this great country that is the same,” said Magnuson.
He congratulated the new Americans and said they now join a tradition of what makes this a great country – its people. He said that each person has a story and bring something very special. They are now in a position to take with them what helps them here and leave behind what does not
“It will be a better country in the future because of you,” he added.
Hathi Thanh Nguyen of Vietnam sat in the front row, where after taking the oath she shared a “high-five” celebration slap of the hand with the Russian immigrant in the next seat.
The moment was a culmination of six years as a resident and not just the successful completion of the citizenship test – but of the entire process, she added.
“I feel good to be an American,” said Nguyen. “I am proud of myself. I thank all of my friends and the government that helped me.”
Nguyen works in a nail salon and lives in New Hope with her husband.
Souk Souriyath, a native of Laos and a veteran of the Royal Lao Army, has lived in Minnesota for nearly 30 years, and now resides in Golden Valley where he works as a building caretaker.
Souriyath said the citizenship is a way to prevent ever being deported, and that now he can again visit home someday as an American. He said the process was a lot of work and that he enjoyed learning American history.
“I feel good about this,” said Souriyath. “I am happy about this.”
Thuy Thithu Nguyen, also from Vietnam and a nail salon employee, said she has been here for four years and started the citizenship process six months ago.
“I am very happy today,” she said. “I become an American.”
During the second ceremony, Judge Magnuson said that three of his four children are also naturalized Americans through the international adoption process just as many of these children. He said he understood that the Certificate of Citizenship is “what counts.”
Magnuson told immigrants and adoptee parents alike that the naturalization only means something when they register to vote and take charge of their rights and privileges. He encouraged parents to ensure their kids register to vote as soon as they turn 18.
“That’s what makes us American’s,” he added.
Rida Mahmood, 10, Coon Rapids, was just a few months old when her parents Syed Mahmood and Shama Sultan, came to America from Pakistan. Her little brother Harris, 3, was born here.
Mahmood said she didn’t feel much different after the ceremony, as Minnesota is really the only home she has ever known. She said that it did feel good to be through the process and that her friends are excited for her officially becoming an American.
Jae-yoon Thrash, 2, son of Zan and Allison Thrash of St. Paul, was adopted by the couple in Seoul, South Korea in September 2008. Although the adoption process completed the naturalization of Jae-yoon, it took another 15 months of work to gain the certificate of citizenship.
Allison said that the certificate is something that required additional work that is not important now but will be when their son applies for colleges and financial aid in the future.
Other children present included, Olivia Kissner, 21 mos, adopted at 9 months by Gail and Scott Kissner of Prior Lake. They began the certificate process in August with pretty much the same concerns. They were present with Olivia’s brother, Drew, and grandmother, Betty.
Cameron Gorka, 25 months, son of Scott and Sue Gorka of Blaine, were present with another brother Ryan, 4, who was adopted from Guatemala.
The members of Boy Scout Troop 9005 in Woodbury were present in uniform to honor their fellow scout, Jose Ortiz, who became a citizen. Assistant Scout Leader Carl Rodriguez said the scouts were there to support him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *