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They had a gym full of students to applaud them and a chorus to serenade them. Outside, the big rain and the big wind held off until after the reception. citizens from 18 countries. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy presiding.

"It's a good feeling," he said, before walking over to a table where the League of Women Voters was signing up new voters.

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school choir sang, the certificates of citizenship were passed out, and the ceremony concluded in a tidy 40 minutes. The new citizens embraced their families and friends and headed to the reception in the cafeteria. Rice's students, about 400 altogether, headed back to class. The rights and responsibilities of citizenship had figured into classroom discussions over the last week, said Sarah Smith Conroy, chair of the History Department, and students had even taken the citizenship test. Citizenship and Immigration Services is a fee based agency, a spokeswoman explained, so it's largely unaffected. As for the federal court system, according to Conroy, its 10 days of post shutdown funding aren't up yet and by the time they are, he hopes, the stalemate will have been broken.

They had waited a long time for this rite of passage, and fortunately for them, the outlook Monday afternoon was pretty good.

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Ceremony naturalizes new citizens

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"It's great to be an American," said Farkad Saad Abdulrazak, who came from Iraq five years ago. He has a small taxi company and goes by the nickname Ali Baba.

"The Constitution of the United States and its first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, protects you from discrimination on the basis of your religion, your country of origin, the color of your skin. You have the right, under the Bill of Rights, to speak freely about matters that you care about. ."

He went on to affirm the nation's bedrock principles in brief remarks that not only echoed the civics lessons that the applicants had studied, but resonated with many others in the audience as well.

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Robert Brown, chair of Rice's English Department, offered "a lesson in the culture of this great nation" in the form of two brief readings (Walt Whitman, "I hear America singing," and Dorothea Smartt, "generations dreaming 1"). history and government.

your own convictions. Your own rights become Adidas Rose 773 Price

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In the cafeteria, the mood was ebullient. history test with her son and daughter.

Conroy administered the oath of allegiance, in which the citizens to be renounced fidelity to "any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty" and vowed to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

"You have all taken a courageous step in leaving your homes and in some cases your families to come here to pursue your dreams and your aspirations," Conroy said, addressing the guests of honor seated in the first two rows. "With the exception of native Americans, all of us or our ancestors have made that very same voyage with those very same dreams. In a very fundamental way, we are all legal immigrants of this country."

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At least 15 of the 25 filled out the registration form. Jean Norton, who has helped with League signups at other naturalization ceremonies, pronounced this "a good turnout."

"In a free Adidas Sl Rise Premium society such as ours," Conroy said, "every right has a duty and every freedom a responsibility. You must remain firm in your convictions and not falter when the cause of freedom is in danger. The right to vote is at risk each time one fails to vote. The right to free speech is threatened whenever you do not speak of Adidas Originals Tech Super Snake Leather

"I didn't expect so many people," said Evgeniya Konstantinovna Kapish, who came from Uzbekistan.

He cited diversity as one of this country's strengths, a point not lost on his audience. The new citizens come from six continents. The countries: Argentina, Australia, Bhutan (2), Burma (2), China (2), France, Germany, Guatemala, Iraq (3), Jamaica, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines (3), Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

threatened, whenever we permit the rights of others to be denied."

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