After several decades living in the United States, a time which included two deportation attempts and some time in jail, Nigerian-born Magnus Duruji finally became a U.S. citizen on February 22, 2012. Along with fifty others, representing twenty-seven different countries, he took the oath of citizenship before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King at the federal courthouse in downtown Columbus. Duruji’s story demonstrates just how much determination can be required to achieve the American dream.
Duruji arrived in the United States on a student visa in 1982 to attend Ohio Dominican University. He needed money, so despite a legal prohibition on working with a student visa, he took a job at a Columbus restaurant. Immigration agents raided the place in 1983 and arrested him. A judge ordered him deported, but the deportation was delayed for several months. His case fell through the cracks, and the government took no further action on his case for years.