Kayrouz keynotes welcome speech for new U.S. citizens at Federal Immigration Ceremony
SOUTHFIELD, Mich: Prominent Michigan accident attorney Joumana Kayrouz told new U.S. citizens during a federal government swearing-in service held Friday morning in the City of Westland that American citizenship is an important key that can unlock their family dreams.
The new citizens received their citizenship oath from US Immigration Services Section Chief Nelson Larkins at ceremonies co-hosted by the American Human Rights Council (AHRC), the FBI, and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Westland City Hall, 36300 Warren Road.

An immigrant from Lebanon who took her citizenship oath in the early 1990s, Kayrouz shared her story of how she went from a student at Yale and immigrant to one of the Midwest's most successful legal authorities.

"American citizenship can give each of you a place in a society that welcomes you, supports you and comforts you like a family," Kayrouz said noting America is more than just a nation of streets paved in opportunity.

"As Americans, you become an integral part of a great society that respects your heritage, your culture and religious beliefs while giving you the chance to be unique."

FBI Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios provided welcoming remarks, along with Westland Mayor Bill Wild, USCIS Immigration Services Walaa Najor, and AHRC Board President Dr. Opada Alzohalli. The new U.S. Citizens came from 20 different countries. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Douglas Pierce, and Yasmeen Suri sang the National Anthem. WXYZ TV News Anchor Andrea Isom served as the event emcee.

"You are joining an exclusive club in this world of people who enjoy unprecedented civil rights and freedoms."

In her remarks to the new citizens, Kayrouz provided a passionate glimpse into her own life as an immigrant.

"I stood in your shoes and I waited a long time to get here," Kayrouz told the new U.S. Citizens and a gathering of distinguished guests.

"You are standing here taking an oath because you wanted a better life. And you came to the right place. There is no better country on Earth period."

Kayrouz emphasized how important it is to value their new home.

"No other country on Earth will provide you with the tremendous opportunities that this country will give you, especially in today's world of inhumanity, war and fear of terrorism. It is a huge privilege. It is a prized possession. Recognize it and value it," Kayrouz told the gathering.

"In this country you can be anything you want to be. It doesn't matter where you are from. It doesn't matter who your parents are. It doesn't matter how much money you came with. It doesn't matter what your connections are. I am a living example of this. I came to this country 30 years ago with $1,000."

Kayrouz advised the new U.S. Citizens, "The only thing standing between who you are today and who you want to be is you. It's all up to you."

She urged them to take their new citizenship seriously.

"If you are here, be here. Do not live half a life here. Do not give half of what you can here. Do not be present in body but not in heart and in mind. If you know more about your home country's politics than you know about your new city, your new state or your new country's politics, then you are not truly present. You are not engaged."

In concluding her remarks, Kayrouz quoted from a poem by Khalil Gibran, who like Kayrouz immigrated to America from Lebanon: "Do not live half a life and do not die a half death ... Do not dream half a dream. Do not fantasize about half hopes ... Half a life is a life you didn't live."

Kayrouz has received many honors and distinctions over the years both for her professional legal work and for her philanthropic endeavors.

In 2016 Kayrouz was named "Best Female Attorney" by the readers of Detroit Metro Times in the magazine's annual survey.

She was named by Crain's Detroit Business in 2014 as the "American Dreamer." In 2012, she was named "Top Lawyer of the Year" in a survey of more than 18,000 Michigan lawyers.

Kayrouz is a popular guest speaker on the University circuit. In 2012, Kayrouz served as the national sponsor of the 50th Gala for St. Jude Children's Hospital. She is a frequently sought speaker on legal and motivational issues at universities around the world.

A thought leader in American politics, Kayrouz hosted fundraisers at her home for various local, statewide and national candidates including for US Congress and president. Kayrouz serves on the re-election campaign committees of several judges as well as supporting many judicial candidates.

As a leading champion for Lebanon, Kayrouz has hosted many Lebanese government officials in pursuit of her philanthropic work through the Joumana Kayrouz & Daughters Foundation which works to provide support to needy families in Lebanon.

(Posted on 24 October 2017, 1680162556 34O239O173O144)