National Archives News

National Archives Welcomes New Citizens

by Kerri Lawrence | National Archives News

WASHINGTON, September 20, 2017 — Thirty new United States naturalized citizens took the oath of allegiance last week at the National Archives Rotunda in Washington, DC. Sworn in just steps away from the Charters of Freedom—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—the new Americans hail from 22 different countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ethiopia, El Salvador, France, India, Mexico, Romania, Slovakia, and Vietnam.

“There’s no better place to become an American citizen than here, in front of the Charters of Freedom,” David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States told the group. He shared with them his own story of using passenger ship lists at the National Archives to discover information about his grandparents, who immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s.

James McCament, Acting Director U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, also addressed the group saying, “This naturalization ceremony today marks the end of your journey toward citizenship, just as it marks the start of your new life as active, engaged American citizens.”

“I cannot think of a more appropriate venue to welcome you than here at the National Archives, which . . . houses the documents on which our democracy was based—documents that continue to guide us today,” McCament added.

The Honorable Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, also spoke to the new Americans.

“Over the past decade we have welcomed more than 7.4 million naturalized citizens into the fabric of our nation,” Duke said. “Over the centuries, America has been enriched by the talents, cultures, skills, ingenuity, and values brought here by immigrants. It continues to be enriched by the gifts you bring here with you today.”

Students from Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan recited the preamble to US Constitution. The Honorable Beryl A. Howell, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia administered the oath of citizenship.

In her closing remarks, Howell acknowledged the hard work and courageous journeys many of the 30 new naturalized citizens faced in seeking American citizenship.

“America is a richer place because of your stories and your cultural experiences that you bring with you. America’s strength is in the diversity of our people.”

The National Archives hosted the naturalization ceremony in conjunction with the 230th celebration of signing of the U.S. Constitution, which defines the U.S. Government and outlines the fundamental rights of all citizens.