KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More than 100 immigrants from 45 different countries all become American citizens Thursday afternoon at the Kansas City library. Rami Ghanem waited a decade for his moment.
“You have more potential here to do whatever you want in this country. Open businesses, finish education, everything you want you can do in this country,” he said with a smile.
Ghanem is from Jordan. He came to America in 2003 with big dreams of a better future. He believes that once he is a citizen, no one, not even the president can take his rights away. That’s why the results of Tuesday's election do not scare him.
“He said if you are legal, you are welcome to come to the United States. He’s restricting those who aren’t legal in this country,” Ghanem said.
The process of naturalization takes a lot of time, effort, and money -- $680 to be exact. There’s also a 100-question test you have to pass.
“This isn’t something you just go down to the local corner store and say hi I want to be a citizen and you fill out a piece of paper. You have to really want this,” said Julie Robinson. She is the library’s refugee and immigrant services outreach manager.
The library offers citizenship classes at the downtown location and hopes to expand to three other branches.
“I want them to be good citizens and know they worked really hard to do this and take advantage of all of it. We live in a great country with different programs and things that you can do and I’m really hoping they can embrace that,” she said.
This is the first naturalization ceremony at the Kansas City Library. Ghanem is already looking ahead to the next one
“The most important is I can apply for my kids to come over here and finish their education, and better life too,” he said.