20 become naturalized citizens as Salt Lake City celebrates World Refugee Day

Posted at 3:31 PM, Jun 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-06 17:31:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Twenty immigrants from 8 different countries became naturalized United States citizens Saturday morning as they took the Oath of Allegiance at Liberty Park, and the event kicked off Salt Lake City’s 10th World Refugee Day Festival.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services Refugee Office estimates there are 60,000 refugees in Utah.

New citizens in Saturday’s ceremony came to the U.S. from countries that include: Bhutan, Bosnia, Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Iraq, Republic of Serbia and Rwanda—according to a press release from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

For some, becoming an American citizen, is a chance to spread hope around the world.

Dechanel Zambi smiles as he discusses becoming naturalized as a United States citizen.

Dechanel Zambi smiles as he discusses becoming naturalized as a United States citizen.

“I want to be a leader,” Dechanel Zambi said. “I want to be able to help people around the world, you know, take the good stuff, the good things from America all the way to the world–like other countries and stuff like that.”

Girl Scout Troop 1179, a refugee troop based in Salt Lake City, were responsible for leading the flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the press release, under U.S. law, a refugee is someone who:

  • Is located outside of the United States
  • Demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
  • Is not firmly resettled in another country
  • Is of special humanitarian concern to the United States
  • Is admissible to the United States

The World Refugee Day celebrations included the ceremony for naturalized citizens, cultural entertainment, a global market, a refugee youth soccer tournament, kids activities and a 5K run. For more information, click here.