ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Tompkins County courthouse was packed Wednesday for a naturalization ceremony that welcomed 29 new U.S. citizens into the community. 

“America is richer for having you come here,” Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler said at the start of the ceremony. “We can achieve the promise of America with people like yourselves.”

Mike Hall, the director of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, which has plans to expand to include international travel, also spoke at the ceremony. 

“We thrive on the richness that others bring here,” he said.  

The 29 petitioners were asked to take an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S., finalizing their legal citizenship. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Cassidy presided over the ceremony. 

The day was special for a lot of the people in the courtroom, but for one family the occasion was truly full circle. 

The Bielecki-Madan family (Photo by Anna Lamb/The Ithaca Voice)

Emil Bielecki was naturalized as a U.S. citizen after emigrating from Poland 47 years ago. His son-in-law Sanchay Madan, from India, was naturalized in the ceremony Wednesday. 

“I moved to the U.S. three years ago with my wife who is from here,” Sanchay said. “We’re pretty permanent here.”

Bielecki was beaming walking out of the courthouse with his family. 

“I’m an immigrant, she went over to India to study and met him, so it all kind of flows together,” he said. 

The petitioners honored in the Nov. 6 ceremony are as follows

Hafsa Amin

Divina Anand

Samai Janniam Ardley

Victoriya Arguijo (Victoria Arguijo)

Imane Bouharba

Sarah Dawn Brogan

Derlis Andres

Yuri Carreira Alflen

Fabrizio Estelio Casanova Alaimo

Christian Morin Elliott

Pushpa Gami

Natalya Aleksandrovna Gordinier (Natalya Aleksandrovna Shatskikh)

Qing Huang

Anita Kendter

Minjeong Kim

Liudmyla Lazarenko

Jackie Jia Wei Liu

Sanchay Madan

Fay Pearleta McCormack

Alex Nnamdi Obinatu

Yarely Sarahi Osuna Pena (Sarahi Osuna Pena)

Livia Margarita Santana Canelon

Fatameh Sedaghatpour

Indira Selimovic

Ho Jun Shin (Hojun Shin)

Win Soe

Supriya Malvika Talwar (Malvika Dillman Talwar)

Aly Traore

Pranesh Sai Vadlamudi

Shanyi Yan

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at