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Dozens of immigrants become American citizens during ceremony at the Utah State Capitol

Observers and immigrants waved their American flags as the immigrants became US citizens. Photo: Kelli Pierce

SALT LAKE CITY — They come from 46 different countries. But on Friday, they became citizens of the United States of America.

More than 100 people took an oath and waved American flags during in front of cheering family and friends during a naturalization ceremony at the Utah State Capitol.

This was the end of the process for Florence Sitti, who came here 14 years ago from Niger for work and educational opportunities.

“This is the country of opportunity, so that was the main goal. I was pretty young, but I knew coming here for an education is important…I’m so happy,” Sitti says.

It was a similar story for Ninoska, a Green Card holder from the Dominican Republic who has lived in Utah for nine years. She is grateful to live here, and she believes everyone who becomes a citizen feels the same way.

“We come here because we really want to make the best of ourselves. We not only come here because we want to but because we’re looking for a better life,” Ninoska says.

Dr. Piotr Runge has always felt welcome since coming to Utah 18 years ago from Poland.

“Everybody I think understands that this country’s pretty much built on immigrants. Around here they welcome us, appreciate us,” Runge says.

It took most immigrants more than a decade to get their citizenship. Some said the last couple of years were the most challenging because the government took longer to process their paperwork.