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Presidential candidates give new citizens something to think about

FARGO - Two-hundred-twenty people from over 50 countries stood before a federal judge on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and swore their allegiance to America. Instantly, they had U.S. citizenship and all the privileges that come with it, including the right ...

FARGO – Two-hundred-twenty people from over 50 countries stood before a federal judge on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and swore their allegiance to America. Instantly, they had U.S. citizenship and all the privileges that come with it, including the right to vote.

With just eight weeks until Election Day, this group of new Americans is faced with a choice between two presidential candidates with drastically distinct views on immigration.

Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and says he won’t offer amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton says she’ll create a path to citizenship for those here illegally.

Yet for everyone who became a citizen during Tuesday’s naturalization ceremony at the Avalon Events Center, the choice isn’t as easy as picking the pro-immigration candidate.

Ramir Salvador left behind his home country of the Philippines seven years ago and moved to the U.S. to be closer to his family.

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Salvador, 47, of Fargo said he appreciates Clinton’s stance on immigration and wants the U.S. to continue to welcome migrants, so families like his can be reunited. But as a Catholic, he’s a social conservative opposed to abortion, which doesn’t jibe with Clinton’s take on the issue.

“Honestly, if there was a third candidate, I would rather have that,” he said.

For now, Salvador is trying to decide between Clinton and Trump. “I’m torn between which issues matter most in the last minute maybe. I’m one of those voters,” he said.

Christiana Teboh, 69, said she came from Cameroon to care for her grandchildren in Jamestown. For her, choosing a presidential candidate to support was easy.

“I think I will agree with Hillary Clinton. For Donald Trump, my problem with him is that I don’t like the way he talks,” she said. “It’s rude in the way he talks.”

Teboh said she’s unsure how Trump will treat naturalized immigrants. “If he sits on that chair as president, maybe he’s going to send some of us away from this country. We don’t know,” she said.

Mukesh Maharjan, 31, of Grand Forks said he plans to vote in November. But because he hasn’t been following the presidential race, he wasn’t ready to decide on a candidate.

Maharjan, whose homeland is Nepal, said he believes the U.S. should stop illegal immigration, but that officials should allow certain immigrants here illegally to become citizens.

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“Let’s take them if they are good for our country,” he said, adding that he believes immigrants who are criminals should be deported.

Daniel Adewunmi, a 30-year-old from Nigeria, was mum about who he’s going to vote for. Instead, he talked about how immigration is an intrinsic part of U.S. history.

“Everyone except Native Americans came here as an immigrant,” said Adewunmi of Fargo. “I’m honored to be a citizen of this great nation.”

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