Judge George Caram Steeh from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan congratulates Farzana Hussain on becoming a U.S. citizen. Hussain is originally from Bangladesh.

Judge George Caram Steeh from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan congratulates Farzana Hussain on becoming a U.S. citizen. Hussain is originally from Bangladesh.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Macomb County welcomes newest citizens

By: Julie Snyder | C&G Newspapers | Published November 9, 2018

MOUNT CLEMENS — On Nov. 2, 24 people representing 16 countries officially made Michigan, and Macomb County, their home.

During an informal ceremony at the Macomb County Administration building in downtown Mount Clemens, the newest citizens finalized the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens by declaring their Oath of Allegiance to the country.

“It’s been a long journey for you on your path to citizenship, and you have many new responsibilities,” Macomb County Deputy Executive Pam Lavers said during the ceremony. “And one of those near and dear to OneMacomb is embracing diversity and differences of opinion and culture. We hope that you will become an active member of your community and share and celebrate those differences with us.”

For the men and women who were once immigrants, the road to becoming a U.S. citizen was long and oftentimes arduous one.

Inge Zomboreanu Boettcher can attest to the many challenges and spoke of her experiences during the ceremony.

Growing up in the communist Romania, Boettcher said her father wanted a better life for the family, including her mother and brother, and applied for relocation to the United States through the U.S. Embassy.

“Life was really hard,” she said. “There was poverty, no food, rationing. The basic needs were not met; electricity and hot water would be turned off in order to economize.”

After revolution in 1989 and the country had been freed from communism, the family received word from the U.S. Embassy that if they wanted to build a new life in America, they were free to do so.

“I was very excited,” Boettcher said. “I wondered what it would be like to be a teenager in America.”

She diligently studied the English dictionary, and in 1990 the family was on their way.

“It was 28 years ago this week that we landed in New York,” Boettcher recalled, adding that it was not only the family’s first time on a plane, it was also their first experience with Halloween.

“They gave us candy and told us kids would knock on our door and say ‘trick-or-treat,’” she said. “We didn’t know what was happening.”

She said she and her brother watched from their apartment window, eating the candy that had been given to them, as children walked the streets in costume. “Was this going to happen every night?” Boettcher said the siblings wondered to themselves. “We had never heard of Halloween.”

The family lived in South Dakota for a time, “My father is a cowboy,” she said with a laugh. And after a time her brother joined the U.S. Army while she went to college and studied psychology.

All the while, Boettcher said she dreamed of living in Michigan; specifically the metro Detroit area where the family had visited from time to time.

“When I first came here, I immediately wanted to move here — sold!” she said. The family relocated and she attended Wayne State University.

The family has resided in Warren since. Boettcher completed school, married an American and had two children.

She took her Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen in 1996.

“In my heart, I am still Romanian, but I am also American,” she said.

Officiating this year’s Oath of Allegiance was the Judge George Caram Steeh from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“Witnessing these ceremonies is an emotional experience,” Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said. “Becoming a U.S. citizen is quite a journey; a journey mixed with eagerness, anxiety, hope and passion, with the goal of exploring opportunities and to enjoy the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. I am so excited for each new citizen and wish you much success as fellow Americans.”