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99 become American citizens at Hamilton ceremony

Being a part of the U.S. Armed Forces for many is being a part of “something bigger,” which is why 25-year-old Jeffery Asubeng joined the Army Reserves about one year ago.

“I just didn’t want to be in the country and do nothing,” said the Fairfield resident, who is a member of the 706th Transportation Company in Trenton.

In a similar story, Prasanna Guru, 38, of West Chester Twp., joined the Army Reserves in August 2016 because he “just wanted to do something more, just wanted to serve the people.” Guru, a dentist, serves with the 7241st Medical Support Unit in Lexington, Ky.

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On Monday, both men took the oath of U.S. citizenship with 97 others at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton, and will be among the hundreds of thousands of people who will become United States citizens this year.

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Jeffery Asubeng, from Ghana, right, who serves in U.S. Army Reserves was one of the 99 people who became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Monday, Sept. 17 at Miami University Hamilton’s Parrish Auditorium in Hamilton. Standing at left is Prasanna Guru, from India, who also serves in the U.S. Army Reserves and became a citizen. (NICK GRAHAM/STAFF)

“It’s very hard to explain,” Guru, who is natively from India, said about his feelings following his journey to citizenship. “I’m just full of emotions today. I’m really happy now. I’m glad this day has arrived.”

Since 2011, more than 4.3 million people have become naturalized citizens, with more than 752,000 taking the oath of citizenship in 2016. Asubeng and Guru are also two new citizens joining the more than 65,000 non-U.S. citizens and naturalized citizens serving in the U.S. military, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Monday’s event was the fourth time the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati has held a naturalization ceremony on Miami Hamilton’s campus. And though this year it was held in Parrish Auditorium because of rain, it was still complete with all the pomp and circumstance with the Butler County Sheriff’s Honor Guard and Bagpipe and Drum Corps, and Miami University’s Men’s Glee Club.

WATCH: View the naturalization ceremony at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton

The 99 people who took the oath of citizenship represented 42 countries. Since 2015, 342 people have become naturalized citizens through the ceremony at Miami Hamilton.

Ninety-nine people became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Monday, Sept. 17 at Miami University Hamilton’s Parrish Auditorium in Hamilton. (NICK GRAHAM/STAFF)

While citizenship is a life-changing moment for those who decided to become naturalized citizens, many things will remain the same for Asubeng, who’s natively from Ghana.

“You still have to look for ways to improve your life, ways to use the opportunities that you have now and take advantage of every opportunity right now,” said the University of Cincinnati student and an aspiring medical school student.

Miami University President Greg Crawford told the dozens of new citizens, “My country is now your country.”

“As you embrace citizenship in the United States, we embrace you as fellow citizens,” he said. “We are better because you have chosen to become a part of us.”

State and local politicians also shared their congratulations, including letters from U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati. Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller issued a proclamation declaring Monday as Citizenship Day in the city of Hamilton.

U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman, a former immigration attorney, presided over the oath of citizenship.

“America prospers for many reasons, one of which is the strength that derives from our diverse population,” she said. 

PAST NATURALIZATION CEREMONIES AT MIAMI HAMILTON:

85 take oath for citizenship at Miami University Hamilton in 2017

86 people become new American citizens during Butler County ceremony in 2016

72 new American citizens take oath at Miami Hamilton in 2015

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