Hundreds become US citizens in St. Paul

Clutching an American flag, a certificate of citizenship and surrounded by his family, Ramon Colin worked to hold back his emotions.

“I’ve waited 23 years,” he told Fox 9. “23 years.”

His wife, Melany, described their blended family as the Mexican-American Brady Bunch and acknowledged their thrill at Ramon’s long-awaited status as a US citizen comes at a time when immigration is center of a political firestorm, questions swirling about what the future will bring for those seeking a better life in America.

“It’s sad. I think it’s sad,” she said. “We’re all one people and we’re all human. We have to reach out and love one another.”

Ramon was one of 878 new Americans who took the oath of citizenship in a huge ceremony at St. Paul’s Rivercentre on Monday morning, 89 nations represented in the massive crowd.

The two largest groups were from Mexico and Somalia, two nations both front and center in two different immigration debates, one of them about building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, the other on the list of Muslim-majority nations included in the temporary travel ban currently on hold in court as constitutional issues are argued.

Mohamed Abdow and his wife, both from Somalia, became citizens after a five year process, escaping a country torn apart by civil war.  And they worry about what lies ahead for family back in Somalia who wish to join them here.

“Yeah there is (worry),” he told is, but expressed the hopefulness often seen in immigrants.  “In the United States of America, there is the court.  If there’s anything (not legal) the court will be there to decide.  And I hope they change it.”