On, June 28, 2013, the United States welcomed Mohamed Ahmed as one of its newest citizens! Mohamed works as a Case Manager in LSG’s Refugee and Immigration Services department. When he shares his story about becoming a citizen, he smiles with quiet pride.
Mohamed’s long journey to citizenship and a new home in the United States began when he, his wife, his children, and his mother left Somalia to escape the violent 1991 civil war. After fleeing to Egypt, he took a job in Sudan working with an international organization. His children remained in Egypt. In November of 2002, his wife, his two sons, and four daughters crossed the ocean together and arrived in the U.S. as refugees. Once their feet were firmly planted on American soil, Mohamed’s wife applied for a family-based visa so he could join them. He arrived in Atlanta in the winter of 2008 and soon began volunteering with LSG, helping other refugees adjust to life in their new country.
Since Mohamed’s wife is a U.S. citizen, he was eligible for naturalization after three years of living in the United States. Although he speaks English fluently and felt he could confidently answer the questions on the citizenship test, he grew anxious as the day for the test grew closer. Like a student preparing for finals week, he studied for the test and passed with flying colors. “It’s a great achievement,” he says.
Mohamed celebrates his citizenship as “another step forward” for him and his family. He sees the U.S. as a place of freedom—freedom from oppression, freedom from discrimination, and freedom to pursue employment and educational opportunities. Now, as a citizen, he has also secured the freedom to travel, to vote, to take government positions, and to leave and return as he wishes. For Mohamed, the freedom that citizenship brings is priceless. “You cannot value citizenship by money,” he reflects. “It’s more valuable than anything else.”