February 23, 2019
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46 Mainers sworn in as new US citizens

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Adel Al Rashid waves a flag after taking the oath of allegiance to the United States at a citizenship ceremony at Portland's King Middle School on Friday. Al Rashid is originally from Iraq and now lives in Augusta. "I love Augusta. I love the small city," he said.

PORTLAND, Maine — Raising their right hands, 46 new U.S. citizens from 31 countries took the oath of allegiance on Friday morning. The swearing-in event was held at King Middle School.

The event marked the end of a seventh grade learning unit called “Coming to America.” Students investigated the history, current issues, and impact of immigration in the United States. They also interviewed new Mainers about their immigration experiences.

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Lilit Danielyan smiles after taking the oath of allegiance to the United States at a citizenship ceremony at Portland's King Middle School on Friday. Danielyan is originally from Armenia and now calls Portland home.

Both Gov. Janet Mills and Superintendent of Portland Schools Xavier Botana spoke at the ceremony.

Mills thanked the new citizens for choosing Maine as their new homes.

Our state and country need you,” Mills said.

Botana, originally from Cuba, shared his own experience as an immigrant and naturalized United States citizen.

“This is now your America,” he told them. “Congratulations.”

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Superintendent of Portland Schools Xavier Botana speaks at a citizenship ceremony at King Middle School on Friday. Botana, who was born in Cuba, told the new Americans his own story of becoming a naturalized citizen. "This is now your America," he said. "Congratulations."

One new citizen, Adel Al Rashid, beamed through most of the ceremony. Originally from Iraq, Al Rashid has lived in Augusta for five years. With two of his children in tow, he said he’s very happy to be in Maine.

“I love Augusta,” he said. “I love the small city.”

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Raising their hands, 46 new American citizens, from 31 countries, take the official oath of allegiance at a swearing-in ceremony at Portland's King Middle School on Friday morning. Top: Christian Vunumwami, originally from Burundi, takes the oath of allegiance. Bottom left: Muno Ahmed, originally from Somalia, raises her right hand, while holding her eight-month-old son Mohamed in her left. Bottom right: The King Middle School Ensemble sings a song.
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Gov. Janet Mills (in blue) laughs while posing for pictures at at citizenship ceremony at Portland's King Middle School on Friday. In a speech, Mills told the new citizens, "Our diverse faiths, languages, literature, music, cuisine and celebrations are a virtue. They are what make our country strong. I hope you will continue to celebrate your past as you embark on your future."


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