Thirty-one refugees gained US citizenship at an Idaho naturalization ceremony held to coincide with World Refugee Day, according to published reports.
The new citizens hailed from a plethora of nations, including Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Poland, Somalia, Sudan and Ukraine, The Associated Press reports. The June 18 ceremony was held in downtown Boise and included a celebration featuring cultural music, dance, crafts and food, according to the Idaho Office For Refugees.
More than 800 refugees relocated to Idaho in 2010, reported the AP. Refugees are eligible for US citizenship after lawfully living in the country for five years and passing a citizenship test, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The United Nations designated June 20 as World Refugee Day in 2001. The date had originally been celebrated as Africa Refugee Day but was expanded to include all international refugees to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
The US accepts a limited number of refugees each year. USCIS defines a refugee as someone who can demonstrate they were persecuted or feared persecution in their home country due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group and has not firmly resettled in another nation.