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An immigrant from West Africa still fawns over the U.S. 18 years after moving to the country and is adamant that the American dream is alive and well.

“America is still the place where anybody can make it,” Alma Ohene-Opare told Fox News. He and his wife on Friday celebrated their first anniversary of becoming a citizen after spending 17 years living, working and raising a family as an immigrant to the United States. 

“For me, American citizenship is not just being part of this culture, this society, not just being part of the place I’ve called home for the last almost 20 years,” Ohene-Opare said. It’s also “about the values that undergird the founding of this country.”

The Ghanaian native fantasized about America for years as a child. At 19, he finally had the opportunity to travel to the U.S. as a missionary for his church in 2003.

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Alma Ohene-Opare and his wife swore the Oath of Allegiance and became U.S. citizens.
(Fox News Digital)

He went on to earn both his bachelor’s degree and MBA in information technology from Brigham Young University, then worked at several tech companies, including Microsoft. He highlighted the importance of education, hard work and taking risks in his journey to success.

“By many, many respects, you could say that I have achieved the American dream,” Ohene-Opare said. “It didn’t come overnight, but I had to make very specific and deliberate decisions.” 

Since becoming a citizen last year, the Ghanaian immigrant has dedicated his time talking about his love for his adopted home and his journey to achieve the American dream. 

“I’ve been waiting half my life to become a citizen,” Ohene-Opare told Fox News. “It was something that I looked forward to, and I did not take it for granted when the opportunity came along.”

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He said the person who interviewed him for his citizenship test was also from Ghana.

“Coincidentally, I was put in the room with him and I saw the entire dream come full circle,” Ohene-Opare said. “This is the beauty of this American experiment.”

Alma Ohene-Opare wears a shirt that reads 'I am Proud of my American Privilege.'

Alma Ohene-Opare wears a shirt that reads ‘I am Proud of my American Privilege.’
(Fox News Digital)

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When he first came to the U.S. in 2003, the country was experiencing a wave of patriotism in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But even as that sentiment declined nationwide, Ohene-Opare’s love for America persisted.

“A lot of people have either lost faith in the American experiment or are questioning the role of America in the world,” he said. “From my perspective as an immigrant, I love America not because America is perfect – I don’t believe that – but I believe that America was founded on principles that are necessary for the flourishing of man.”

“It’s unfortunate that patriotism has become a pejorative in some circles,” Ohene-Opare added. “It’s being looked on as some kind of xenophobic idea. If the source of patriotism is rooted in those immutable principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then you cannot be xenophobic.”

Alma Ohene-Opare posing with an American Flag on the day he became a U.S. citizen.

Alma Ohene-Opare posing with an American Flag on the day he became a U.S. citizen.
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He said he believes people resent foreigners or even citizens looking for handouts “because that’s not the essence of patriotism.”

Ohene-Opare also said he has always admired Americans’ patriotism. 

“Patriotism was not something that we thought about a lot in my home country,” he told Fox News. 

“Loving your country is the fuel that pushes the country forward,” Ohene-Opare  continued. “A country with citizens that don’t love it is destined, I believe, for failure.”

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The immigrant shared a message for young Americans who do not believe the American dream exists: “You hold the key to the limits of your success.” 

After becoming a citizen, Ohene-Opare quit his job and started a business – a Tinder-like app called UnstuQ meant to help couples find date ideas. He also wrote a book about his journey titled “American Privilege: An Immigrant’s Perspective on the Privilege of Becoming American.” 

Ohene-Opare lives in Utah with his wife and four children. 

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