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Dozens become U.S. citizens in Saturday Folsom ceremony

By: Eyragon Eidam, Telegraph Correspondent
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Citizenship is often taken for granted by those who have always had it, but the significance of becoming an American was not lost on the scores of new citizens sworn in Saturday during a naturalization ceremony at the Folsom Public Library.

For many of the 47 participants from 18 countries, the ceremony was the realization of a childhood dream and years of patiently waiting for eligibility to apply for citizenship in the United States.

For Shibajee Duttagupta, a Tracy resident working in the field of Information Technology, the opportunity to become a citizen was something his family was not going to pass up.

“I heard about America since childhood, I heard all of the great things about it, and I know this is a place where we have a lot of opportunity and can do many things freely,” said Duttagupta.

Duttagupta and his wife, Ashimita, participated in the ceremony and have lived in the United States with their two sons as legal permanent residents since coming to the states for their careers from India in April 1999.

The Duttagupta family said America offers its citizens the right combination of opportunity, freedom, and environment. This combination is what made them want to stay in America forever.

Folsom’s Vice Mayor, Jeff Starsky, addressed and welcomed the newly-minted citizens and said the success of the city is directly tied to the working efforts and cooperation of both native citizens and naturalized citizens.

“This city, the city that I love, is a perfect example of a combination of natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens coming together and working together,” said Starsky. “The reason it’s one of the most fabulous cities in the state of California, and the most successful, is because of people like you.”

Starsky also shared his connection and appreciation for the immigration and naturalization process with the new citizens and their families.

“I am a grandson of one of you. I am the grandson an immigrant,” said Starsky. “If you really think about America, it is simply a country of immigrants.”

Michael Biggs, with the U.S. Citizenships and Immigration Services, administered the oath of citizenship to the large group and congratulated them on their journey to this point.

“It’s great to have all of you here, becoming a part of our community,” said Biggs to the crowd. “I hope that you take time to thank your family and friends and those absolute strangers who helped you along the way to get to this day because it takes a community to reach our dreams and our goals.”