TROY, N.Y. – Several area residents became U.S. citizens Friday at Rensselaer County Court.
With American flags in hand, 59 people took the oath of allegiance, including Zaw Naymoio- a political refugee from Burma.
“My country is a military government. It is operated with military law. So no democracy, no human rights. And no freedom for politics,” said Naymoio.
Linda Feldmann, the project coordinator of Literary Volunteers f Rensselaer County, met Naymoio six years ago after he arrived in the United States from a refugee camp in Thailand.
“Burma has been in a state of conflict for 60 years. They've had an ongoing problem with their government suppressing the will of the people to become a democratic nation,” explained Linda Feldmann of the Literary Volunteers of Rensselaer County.
Feldmann works with immigrants to help them improve skills needed to pass the tests to become a U.S. citizen.
“Just now we are seeing more people from Iraq, more people from Afghanistan. So the people who were transitioned because of that conflict are just arriving in greater numbers now,” she said.
Naymoio is adapting, attending grad school while working at Walmart. His family is with him, but he worries about friends and others back in his home country.
“Still oppressed, still oppressed military law. Right now they arrest journalists, they arrest farmers, they arrest students, so I don't believe in military government,” he said.
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