New U.S. Citizens
On Friday, June 13, in the most diverse county in the United States, more than two dozen children age two to 15, whose families come from a dozen different nations, gathered at Queens Center Mall to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in the 10th annual Naturalization Ceremony conducted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The special Flag Day ceremony was sponsored by the federal Department of Homeland Security to make official the American citizenship that these children would get automatically if their parents were citizens.
At about noon the children, whose families immigrated to the United States from a wide range of countries including Bangladesh, Togo, Guyana, Yemen, Morocco, Haiti, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Egypt, China and the Philippines took the Oath of Allegiance and were given official certificates of United States citizenship.
Some of the children who participated in the ceremony currently live in Astoria, Briarwood, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Flushing, Middle Village, Ozone Park Ridgewood, Rosedale and Queens Village. Four-year-old Satnam Singh and his sister, three-year-old Satvinder Kaur (Pakistan) from Queens Village were joined by three-year-old Mohammad Ammnaganah (Yemen), 12-year-old Ahmaf Masud, eight-year-old Mohammed Aziz, Kazi Johan and Sydea Alafum, all from Jackson Heights and students at P.S. 69. Christian Joseph (11), a fifth-grader at P.S. 37 in Springfield Gardens, came to the United States a few years ago with his family from his native country, Haiti and now lives in Rosedale. Ammeena Hydar, eight, a third-grade student at P.S. 65, and three P.S. 64 students, Agitanand Gangaram, nine, in fourth grade, Darshane Ganaram (11), in sixth grade, and Nayu Gangarum, six, in first grade, all live in Ozone Park. Amine Ben Mouloud, a pre-K student, lives in Astoria and Ziying Li (nine) and Peixin Li and Min Lu attend P.S. 117 in Briarwood.
This Flag Day event is part of Queens Center's Old Glory*Ous Celebration now in its 10th year. Welcoming remarks were made by Queens Center Marketing Director Dawn Simon. The Oath of Allegiance was administered by Enrica Troy, a section chief with New York Naturalization U.S. Citizenship at Immigration Services.
The program included a video message from President George W. Bush welcoming the new American citizens.