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New citizens celebrated at Naturalization Ceremony

Thomas Caputo
Staff writer
Posted 3/9/23

The United States District Court in Utica welcomed 50 individuals from 27 nations as they were sworn in as American citizens.

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New citizens celebrated at Naturalization Ceremony


UTICA — The United States District Court in Utica welcomed 50 individuals from 27 nations as they were sworn in as American citizens.

Judge David N. Hurd presided over the naturalization ceremony, which took place Thursday morning. Welcoming the individuals, with their family and friends in attendance, Hurd informed them of the honor bestowed upon him to present them with their citizenship and the admiration he has for their journey to become citizens of the United States.

“This is your day. It’s a great day for you, each and every one of you, but it’s also a great day for the United States of America to have each hand and every one of you joining us,” Hurd said. “I am so honored to be able to do this with you. I became a citizen when I was born. ... I have no idea what you all have gone through to come here today, but I admire each and every one of you.”

The ceremony featured a presentation of colors by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department Color Guard, as well as inspirational remarks from Oneida County Attorney Peter Rayhill and patriotic musical selections by Oneida County Public Defender Patrick Marthage.

Upon reciting the Oath of Allegiance, each individual was called up one by one to receive their certificate of citizenship, officially making them a citizen of the United States of America.

The following 50 individuals, including their former countries, were sworn in as citizens of the United States of America:

  • Abdi Jafar Abdirahim, formerly of Somalia;
  • Siti Fatimah Binti Abdul Salam, Malaysia;
  • Suleiman Sidow Abukar, Somalia;
  • Reem Mohammed Qiad Al Banna, Yemen;
  • Zahra Kawan Alfrayh, Syria;
  • Cherry Tin Aung, Burma;
  • Ma Aye, Burma;
  • Dalit Bai, Burma;
  • Barbara Pansy Bailey, Guyana;
  • Monika Anger Kuei Beng, Sudan;
  • David Michael Brandford, Jamaica;
  • Polly Anna Marie Brandford, Jamaica;
  • Julian David Cardona Aguirre, Colombia;
  • Lilia Leonidovna Constantinidi, Moldova;
  • Susmitha Daka, India;
  • Mae Ann Bacalso D’Alba, Philippines;
  • O Bai Dullah, Burma;
  • Bohdan Dzordz, Ukraine;
  • Augustine Forkpah Garbo, Liberia;
  • Thuy Thi Bich Huynh, Vietnam;
  • Jonathan Redvers Oates Hyslop, United Kingdom;
  • Odalys Leopoldina Jimenez, Cuba;
  • Luiza Kotlyarov, Ukraine;
  • Ivan Leonchyk, Ukraine;
  • Julio Liriano Gutierrez, Dominican Republic;
  • Luis Humberto Luna, Ecuador;
  • Eleonor Superio Mills, Philippines;
  • Ali Bin Mohamad Sekali, Burma;
  • Ahmed Kabash Mohamed, Sudan;
  • Omar Kabash Mohamed, Sudan;
  • Layla Moreira Souza Ennis, Brazil;
  • Hamadi Mahamudi Musa, Kenya;
  • Mohamad Ayyas Bin Mustafa Kamal, Burma;
  • Rong Thanh Nguyen, Vietnam;
  • Corinne Nibona, Burundi;
  • Rajiv Ojha, India;
  • Nicole Steffany Pena Nunez, Dominican Republic;
  • Mu Poe, Burma;
  • Luis Manuel Pujols, Dominican Republic;
  • Mariya V Selyuzhitskaya, Belarus;
  • Rukhsana Shahid, Pakistan;
  • Rohit Sijoria, India;
  • Azad Singh, India;
  • Tatiana Nikolaevna Stashesku, Russia;
  • Alexander Strong, Russia;
  • Rosy Tah, Burma;
  • Dervisa Torlak, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • Anh Duy Truong, Vietnam;
  • Lincoyan Andres Vergara, Chile; and
  • Zhenya Zhuk, Belarus.

As the ceremony concluded, Hurd left the new citizens with the same parting words he tells all new American citizens at the naturalization ceremonies he presides over, “Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you are any less [of a] citizen than anyone else. As I said before, I became a citizen the moment I was born. You worked hard for it. You are the equal, or more than equal of any other citizen, so don’t let anybody say anything against you being a naturalized citizen. That is a great honor and you should be very, very proud of it.”


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