Shoppers stopped and watched Saturday at the Mall of America as 39 children and 41 adults were sworn in as new citizens of the United States.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas was in attendance at the two naturalization ceremonies at the mall.
Youannes Tawfik was there to watch his high school age daughter, Monika, become a citizen. The Inver Grove Heights family is originally from Egypt. Youannes Tawfik says he was thinking about his homeland during the ceremony.
"We are praying for them, just everything to be in peace regardless who is controlling the country, because destruction -- nobody will gain anything from it," said Tawfik. "I'm feeling happy today my kid's here in this country, with the freedom and the priviledge of getting all the benefits of being American citizens."
Holocaust survivor and author Gerda Weissmann Klein was the keynote speaker at the naturalization ceremonies.