“I am very happy and very proud that we finally got our citizenship and now we can say that we are Afghan-Americans,” Noor Zazai said after the ceremony.
The couple has been in Fargo for about seven years.
Fargo resident Noor Zazai is proud to be a US citizen after ceremonies held at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Noor is self-employed and his wife is a homemaker. The Zazais family has three children aged 1, 4 and 7 years. They are expecting a fourth child in January.
Before moving to the United States, Zazais lived in Afghanistan, where Noor was employed as an interpreter for the U.S. Army.
He said he has family in Afghanistan, and since the Taliban regime was re-established in the country, he said he fears for the lives of the family members who are still there.
“Everyone knows the situation is very bad and we pray that one day they will come here and join us in America,” Zazai said.
He said work was under way to establish a process by which people could once again be able to leave Afghanistan, but it was not known when or if that would happen.
For now, he said, those believed to be at risk due to past affiliation with the U.S. presence in the country are constantly moving from place to place to remain safe.
Zazai said the rapid collapse of the Afghan government after the full withdrawal of US forces from the country came as a surprise to him.
“It’s a very big shock,” he said, adding, “I’m not blaming anyone, it just happened.”
Joy Hove, Supervisor of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, takes a picture of Noor Zazai after citizenship ceremonies at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
As for how their lives are going in the US, Zazai said he and his family are very happy with Fargo.
“I would say it is my homeland right now. Our children are growing day by day here and we love it,” he added.
U.S. District Judge Peter Welte, who presided over Wednesday’s ceremony, described the diversity of people taking the oath of office on Wednesday as “remarkable.”
He said it was reminiscent of a phrase printed in US currency – E Pluribus Unum – which translates to: out of many, one.
“This is a special time in our history where there is a need for unity. There is a need for us all to be of one mind and one heart, at least in terms of the goals we have as a nation,” Welte said. .
He added that these goals include simply living with freedom, “where we are free to live and worship and vote and work and enjoy the fruits of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.”