Burmese refugee one of 60 new U.S. citizens in Capital Region

RENSSELAER, N.Y. – Sixty residents of the Capital Region were naturalized in front of Rensselaer County Judge Andrew Ceresia on Friday.

The first floor courtroom filled up with families and friends who were about to witness their loved ones become US Citizens.

“I’m very happy that she would go through the same steps I went through 30 years, 25 years ago,” said Cezary Drzymalski.

Drzymalski came out to show support for his friend and co-worker Steah Htoo, a Burmese refugee.

Htoo is one of the first Karenni people living in Albany to become an American citizen. Before coming to the states, she lived in a camp for 14 years. That’s where she met her husband and raised her three children.

“I decided to give her an American silver dollar as a gift. It’s for good luck for her in new path as an American citizen,” said Drzymalski.

Debbie Taylor- who considers Htoo as her second daughter- says this is a very proud moment for her.  She has been working with Htoo and other refugees as a volunteer mentor with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants since 2009.

“It shows these people have had such struggles in their lives and it shows their independence,” said Taylor.

Htoo has been in the country since 2009 and since then she has received her license and she owns a home.

Htoo became a citizen on Friday, which is also her 38th birthday.

“I’m so happy when I came here. So I met a lot of friends, they are so friendly so much to my family and me,” she said.

All 60 new US citizens can celebrate just in time for the holidays.

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