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Boise State Hosts On-Campus Naturalization Ceremony, Welcoming 40 New Citizens

New U.S. citizens share stories of immigration, the citizenship process and coming home

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Peter Madsen (far right) shakes USCIS Field Officer Jack McCarthy's hand after receiving his certificate - DREW DODSON
  • Drew Dodson
  • Peter Madsen (far right) shakes USCIS Field Officer Jack McCarthy's hand after receiving his certificate
Smiles and hugs abounded Nov. 1 as friends, family, and students cheered 40 men and women who became the newest American citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Boise State Special Events Center. After swearing an oath of allegiance administered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Office Director Jack McCarthy, individuals from 15 countries had one thing in common: They were all officially U.S. citizens.

Opening remarks by Dr. Peter Mullner, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State, had the packed auditorium captivated as he shared his own story of becoming a US citizen three years ago. Still, Mullner was quick to add that “The important part of today is your story, not mine."

The 40 new citizens are led through the Oath of Allegiance by Jack McCarthy. - DREW DODSON
  • Drew Dodson
  • The 40 new citizens are led through the Oath of Allegiance by Jack McCarthy.
Mullner was referring to stories like the one told by Jorge Ambriz, who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico illegally 25 years ago, obtained his green card 10 years ago and became a naturalized citizen Nov. 1.

“My wife and my daughters are very excited,” Ambriz said. “It’s like I’m born again here in this country.”

Another story came from Peter Madsen, who moved to the U.S. from Denmark 30 years ago and has since been married and had two children. Although he had settled into life in the U.S., Madsen was unable to be naturalized without revoking his Danish citizenship until the Danish Parliament passed a dual citizenship bill in 2015.

“It’s important since I live and have lived here for more than half of my life,” he said. “It means a lot, but I still didn’t feel like I wanted to give up my Danish background. This has kind of fulfilled my whole dream.”

Then there was the story of Amra Malic, forced to leave Bosnia with her friend in 2002 due to rampant war in the region. Her friend, who was among the hundreds in attendance, was naturalized two years ago.

“I feel legit. I feel official,” said Malic with a laugh, before bursting out, “I feel like an American!”

Peter Madsen walks across the stage as a newly naturalized U.S. citizen. - DREW DODSON
  • Drew Dodson
  • Peter Madsen walks across the stage as a newly naturalized U.S. citizen.

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