- Keleah Pinto
“It looks like the happiest day of their lives,” said Jack McCarthy, Boise Field Office Director and officiator of the naturalization ceremony.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, McCarthy led the applicants in an Oath of Allegiance, during what was a momentous and even emotional day for the new citizens, many of whom took arduous journeys to America.
While tears came to his wife's eyes, Simon Kayiki, from Uganda and now a Preston, Idaho social worker, received his certificate of citizenship, a piece of paper that he said would change their lives forever. Kayiki came to America eight years ago after receiving a scholarship from an American family to attend graduate school in Utah. He said his application for a student visa would likely have been denied if not for the donation.
“In Uganda, people have to pay for their education, so it is already a struggle,” said Kayiki, adding that he grew up in a wealthy-enough family to afford to pay for his undergraduate degree in his native land; however a Master’s degree was much more difficult to come by.
“I now have hope for my child and myself,” he told BW.
Cathy Daley's experience was a bit different. The native of Ireland says she met her Idaho-born husband while travelling overseas 30 years ago. The couple now has two daughters and call Boise their home.
“It’s nice to be able to make a difference and exercise my civil rights,” said Daley.
In Boise each month, there are nearly 150 individuals are naturalized as new U.S. citizens.