New Citizens Get Passport to American Dream - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/16/04 - Tyler

New Citizens Get Passport to American Dream

For Maira Zulifquar, who comes from Pakistan, today is the beginning of her American dream.

"I was really excited and very happy," she said.

Her husband, Shahzad, and their two children born here are all U.S. citizens. And today, she became one too.

"She could not vote before becoming a U.S. citizen," Shahzad, also from Pakistan, said. "Now she can vote. Now, people are going to hear us. Hey, we are here too, part of the community."

For Shahzad, voting is not only a right his wife earned today, it is her duty to exercise that right as an American citizen.

"We're also a part of this country," Maira said. "And we should also participate in all the different activies of this country and vote for the country."

Here, they know they and their children have opportunities and freedoms they might not have had in Pakistan.

"In Pakistan, if you are rich, then you can afford good cars and servants, and if you're in low class, you cannot survive, I mean, afford everything," Shahzad said. "That means the dream of land of opportunities and the American dream. If you work hard, you can get anything, whatever you like."

Shahzad is living his American dream. He has tried his hand in various businesses and now co-owns a cell phone franchise. Now Maira can also live hers.

"To be a good citizen and to raise my kid as a good citizen also and they have a good education like this one," she said.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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