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Syrian man leads Pledge of Allegiance at citizenship event

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Rohi Atassi was among 117 immigrants to become a U.S. citizen during a Chicago naturalization ceremony, but the Syrian dentist stood out among his peers.

A federal judge overseeing the ceremony Tuesday asked him to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

Atassi held a green card for a decade, but the last few weeks he’s been worried with President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Syria.

His family has mixed citizenship status. His mother is a naturalized U.S. citizen. His father has a green card. His fiancee is U.S. born.

Atassi said he was honored that a Syrian American led the Pledge.

He said he immediately applied for his U.S. passport and registered to vote. He said he’s excited to participate in a democracy.