Salt Lake City celebrates World Refugee Day with naturalization ceremony

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah celebrated World Refugee Day with a naturalization ceremony at Fairmont Park Saturday.

Several immigrants took the oath as they became citizens of the United States of America.

“I'm happy, I'm very excited,” said Ubah Abdi, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia more than six years ago and is now a citizen. “I'm very happy today.”

Abdi now has freedom and the chance to pursue an education—luxuries she said she didn't have in her native country.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says some 65,000 refugees now call Utah home. He believes the state’s history makes it a natural destination for anyone escaping persecution.

“Many of the people who settled in this state 170 years ago were refugees themselves,” he said.

Cox announced musician Alex Boye as the state’s newest refugee ambassador. He will help newcomers adjust to their new home.

“Just because you get made, you know, a citizen, that’s just the beginning,” Boye said. “That’s not the end.”

He hopes to work with those pursing the dream of citizenship and a new life for themselves in the Land of the Free.

“I just want to serve, maybe be a voice for the people who are struggling, and people who trying to integrate themselves into Utah society, or American society in general,” Boye said.