LAWRENCE, Mass. –
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — For Albert Baraka, the ceremony outside the federal immigration office in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was brief, but life changing.
The 20-year-old, who came to the country six years ago as a refugee from Congo, joined nine others Thursday morning to recite the oath of allegiance, the final, ceremonial step to becoming a U.S. citizen.
A junior studying business management at Norwich University, a private military college in Vermont, he said he’s looking forward to being able to cast his very first ballot this election.
“In these hard times, it’s a blessing,” Baraka said, standing with his mother, who became a citizen earlier this year, and his younger sister. “Voting is the most important thing for me now because I feel like it’s important to choose wisely in who you want to be your leader, and to speak out on what you believe in.”