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The crowd wore hijab head scarves, pink cocktail dresses, ballcaps, sun dresses, or business suits. Up front, U.S. District Court Judge James Carr presided over the proceedings in a regal black robe.
Promptly at 11 a.m. yesterday, dozens of people stood up, raised their right hands, and “renounced and abjured all allegiance and fidelity to foreign princes, potentates, and states.” With a long-winded oath, 73 people from 30 countries on five continents were transformed into U.S. citizens.
The international crowd wouldn't fit in the usual federal courtroom, so the Yankees-to-be convened in the flashy new McMaster Center auditorium at the Main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library in downtown Toledo. But at least two audience members were not impressed.
Alejandro Garnica is 2. He lives in Fremont. His father, Rafael, held the boy on his hip and stared hard at the judge, repeating each word carefully. His right arm was raised, ramrod-straight.
Alejandro found that fascinating. He gazed up at his father, whose American face was just the same as the Mexican one he'd worn a moment before. He leaned over to watch his mother, Nancy, take the oath too. His sister, Casandra, held their mother's hand.
The children are American-born, Mr. Garnica said, “Thank God.”
Across the room, from a country across the ocean, another 2-year-old bedeviled his Dad. Loi Tran II also is terribly 2.
His father, Loi Tran, saw his wife, Hoa, take the oath, but he had to take the restless boy out to the lobby before she could shake hands with the judge and collect her certificate.
Mr. Tran, a union carpenter, came to the United States from Vietnam when he was 10 years old.
“It was May 20, 1972, 9 a.m. Chicago time,” he said. “I became a citizen June 15, 1986, on Scottwood Avenue in Toledo. I will never forget that day,” he said. “It's a big enjoyment, being a citizen. I have freedom to travel and work. If something happens, I don't have to be afraid of being deported.”
A lawyer extolled the virtues of honesty and hard work. Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution stood and nodded. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion were recognized.
Alejandro rolled up his dad's “Welcome to United States Citizenship” pamphlet and peered around the room, telescopically.
Up in the back seats were more wiggly children, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The naturalization ceremony wel|comed these new citizens:
Sergio V. Abrego, Mexico.
Alfredo Aguilar, Mexico.
Almaza Hussein Alamire, Iraq.
Ahmad Hasan Al Badour, Jordan.
Fady Al-Hachem, Lebanon.
Snia Rubio Pinto Alves, Brazil.
Firas Abdel Majid Amro, Jordan.
Dina Asal, Egypt.
Slwa Mohammad Atassi, Syria.
Ashok Biyani, India.
Neeru Biyani, India.
Gaafar Bakheit Bosh, Sudan.
Donat Jakub Chmielik, Poland.
Chris Cholin, Bulgaria.
Svetlana Lubenova Cholin, Bulgaria.
Michael Jay Conn, United Kingdom.
Frederick Coutinho, India.
Bashar Ahmad Dahbour, Jordan.
Comfort Adjoa Danso, Ghana.
Daniel Yaw Danso, Ghana.
Tamara Abdulla Yevna Davydova, Uzbekistan.
Benedicta Uche Ejiofor, Nigeria.
Amer Emarah, Iraq.
Judit Gabor, Hungary.
Nancy Delia Garnica, Mexico.
Angie Vanessa Gordon, Nicaragua.
Clifford Allan Gordon, Nicaragua.
Clifford Montgomery Gordon, Nica|ragua.
Shiela Magdalena Gordon, Nicaragua.
Sheila Magnolia Gordon, Nicaragua.
Mary Elizabeth Gutierrez, Mexico.
Marco Antonio Gutierrez, Mexico.
Phuong Thi Ha, Vietnam.
Chaoxin Hou, China.
Massa Ketter, Liberia.
Mohammad Zubair Khan, Pakistan.
Momina Khan, Bangladesh.
Mohamed Omar Kormed, Egypt.
Rachel Kuang, China.
Son Hui Hong Kwiatkowski, South Korea.
Jun Lin, China.
Anjelika Manakhimova, Uzbekistan.
Sherryn Ann May, New Zealand.
Michal Marcin Mazur, Poland.
Rafael Garnica Mendoza, Mexico.
Ahmed Mohammed, India.
Elsa Patricia Negrich, Mexico.
Tung Thanh Nguyen, Vietnam.
Biao Brian Ou, China.
Dipti Vijay Patel, United Kingdom.
Tejal Odhavjibhai Patel, India.
Vijay Rasikbhai Patel, India.
Kalpana Virubhai Patidar, India.
Rocio Yanet Monroy Perez, Mexico.
Jacinata Yao Phoa, Philippines.
Mohamed Raed Qiblawe, Palestine.
Jiping Rizk, China.
Melanie Gomez Salcedo, Philippines.
Adell Shehab, Canada.
Lilly Leila Shehab, Canada.
Nadine Shehab, Canada.
Ramsey Shehab, Canada.
Nora Squire, Sweden.
Gabor Joszef Szekely, Hungary.
Monika Mieozyslawa Tarkowski, Poland.
Albert Teow, Malaysia.
Hoa Ngoc Tran, Vietnam.
Mohammad Asir Uddin, Bangladesh.
Mohammad Nasim Uddin, Bang|la|desh.
Serife Venier, Turkey.
Alma Alcantara Villanueva, Philippines.
Shue Deng Xiao, China.
Parveen Zubair, Pakistan.