Teen sworn in as US citizen during ceremony in Bay Ridge

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BAY RIDGE -

Friday was a huge day for one Bay Ridge teen who was officially sworn in as a United States citizen.

A ceremony was held Friday for Ukrainian-born 16-year-old Yuliya Lesif.

The Midwood High School junior was officially declared a United States citizen by acting District Director of New York Lee Bowes.

“My brother is a U.S. citizen, my mother is a U.S. citizen and I wasn't, so I really just wanted to be part of the clan,” says Lesif.

She says getting to this point wasn’t so easy, as her first application was denied.

"My mom walked into the kitchen and told me the citizenship didn't go through, they declined it. I remember my heart dropping and thinking what went wrong and it turned out they sent it to the wrong address,” says Lesif.

The family enlisted the help of Rep. Max Rose.

"We advocated for this case to be reopened. When we work together we can make things right. Thank you for never giving up on the American dream,” says Rose.

Bowes says these ceremonies are the best part of his job.

"These moments are the best part of my job and to every single time I get to shake the hand of a new New York citizen or has gone through the process and is here committed it just makes my day,” says Bowes.

Lesif says she is grateful to the congressman.

"Thankful to anyone who helped me through this process and just very happy,” says Lesif.

Lesif says she is now starting her college search and tells News 12 she hopes to study criminal justice or psychology.

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