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New Tradition Will Honor QC Immigrants, Refugees

Dennis Hill

Thirty-four people from 20 countries became U.S. citizens Friday at a naturalization ceremony in Davenport. And at the end of the summer, a new event coming to the Quad Cities will honor refugees and immigrants.

"Becoming a U.S. Citizen doesn't mean giving up the culture of your home country."

That's how the federal judge in Davenport starts all his naturalization ceremonies. And Bob Babcock, a member of the Board of Directors for the Quad Cities Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, agrees.

"They're not giving up their identity because they're becoming U.S. citizens," Babcock says. "They're adding their identity to the mix, if you will."

The alliance plans to start a new tradition for Quad Cities immigrants and refugees by hosting U.S. Citizenship Honor Dinners. The first will be held September 17.

"I personally feel honored that folks have come from around the world, and they've chosen us," Babcock says. "They've come to America, and you can probably hear Neil Diamond's song in your mind. They could have gone many other places, but they've chosen to come here and make contributions to this country."

Babcock hopes the dinners will spread the word about why they came here and what it takes to become a citizen.

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