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Jun 23, 2012 10:14 PM

Refugee children sworn in as U.S. citizens

TUCSON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed 20 local refugee children as U.S. citizens during the annual Tucson Refugee Fest on Saturday.

The children, ranging in age from eight to 18 years old, took the oath of allegiance during a citizenship ceremony. They came from Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

The festival is held annually to honor World Refugee Day, which recognizes the determination and courage of refugees uprooted by war and violence.

Abdirahman Abdi, a father of one of the children and a refugee from Somalia, was proud to see his daughter take the same oath he did."I was happy I had the right to vote," Abdi said, "I never voted because I was in a refugee camp all of my life".

Tucson has become a safe haven for more than 11,000 refugees.

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