‘Each and Every One Of You Belongs Here’: Hundreds Welcomed as New Americans in Naturalization Ceremonies Throughout Immigrant Heritage Month

‘Each and Every One Of You Belongs Here’: Hundreds Welcomed as New Americans in Naturalization Ceremonies Throughout Immigrant Heritage Month

By Gabe Ortiz | America’s Voice

Naturalization ceremonies throughout June have welcomed hundreds of new Americans. In New Jersey, one of the largest naturalization ceremonies in years welcomed 500 new U.S. citizens from 75 different countries. Ceremonies have also taken place in states including ConnecticutIdahoIllinoisKentuckyMassachusettsNevadaNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota, and Nebraska, where the Scotts Bluff National Monument hosted its first-ever naturalization event.

The naturalization ceremonies also come as the nation has been observing Immigrant Heritage Month and serve as an important reminder of the contributions that new Americans make to our nation every single day.

In Illinois, 74 immigrants from more than 30 nations were welcomed as new U.S. citizens at a ceremony held at the Peoria Public Library in downtown Peoria. Among them was Imelda Mosemegia, who was originally from the Philippines and worked for over a decade to gain her citizenship, WMBD reported.

“Every day I work 10 hours,” she said. “When I go home, I study my tasks. I study. I work hard for my interviews. So it’s looked like this is it. This is it. When I take that test and pass, I feel like, satisfied.”

“Catalina Zavala teaches a citizenship class at the Peoria Friendship House,” WMBD reported. “She watched three of her students become U.S. citizens. ‘Some of the students, when they started, they did not know anything about the history, and surprisingly, I mean, everybody learned the 128 questions completely. So I’m so proud of them,’ she said.”

In North Carolina, nine immigrants had the added treat of becoming Americans at a World Refugee Day ceremony at the governor’s mansion. “From Colombia to Egypt to Haiti to Nepal. It’s great to see people from across the world become Americans,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

“This day is something Alisa Seferovic and her family have been dreaming of,” CBS 17 reported. “She came with her family to the United States from Germany. ‘It feels good. It feels happy,’ said Seferovic.”

In Kentucky, Mayor Craig Greenberg helped welcome nearly 50 new Americans during another World Refugee Day ceremony and connected his family’s immigration story to today’s immigrants. While the times may be different, the courage immigrants display has always been the same, he said.

“What my grandparents had to do and what you all have had to do to make it to our country is incredibly difficult — leaving a place where you’re born and raised and that you know and in many cases moving across the world to an unknown city and an unknown future,” Mayor Greenberg said. “A journey that requires hope, determination, resilience, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Overcoming tremendous challenges along the way to create a new life and new opportunities.”

In Nebraska, Scotts Bluff National Monument held its first-ever naturalization ceremony. The event was the brainchild of Empowering Families Executive Director Valeria Rodriguez, a naturalized immigrant.

“Until Thursday, new Americans living in western Nebraska made the drive to Denver for their naturalization ceremonies,” Nebraska Public Radio reported. Rodriguez contacted the USCIS office in Denver to learn about a ceremony in western Nebraska that led to the historic Scotts Bluff National Monument ceremony.

The Gering Courier reported that the new citizens were welcomed by Chief Ranger Justin Cawiezel, who noted that the monument is an important landmark on the Oregon Trail. “Cawiezel said those westward travelers undertook the hard journey to create better lives for themselves and their families, and that their example — along with the best and worst of U.S. history — should not be forgotten.”

“Each and every one of you belongs here,” Rodriguez said. “Let us, together, continue to celebrate the beauty of our community’s diversity, and continue to uphold the values that make America a beacon of freedom and opportunity for all.”

South Dakota’s historic Mount Rushmore also hosted a naturalization ceremony that welcomed nearly 150 new Americans. “Ceremonies held in national parks advance the meaning and stature of citizenship by building connections between new citizens and America’s parks,” the National Parks Service said. “Since 2006, hundreds of special naturalization ceremonies have been held at many of the 429 places safeguarded by NPS across the country.”

While Immigrant Heritage Month is ending in just a few days, naturalization ceremonies are set to continue into next month as part of our nation’s Independence Day celebrations. In New Hampshire, United States District Court Chief Judge Landya McCaffery is set to administer the Oath of Allegiance to new citizens at a ceremony to take place at the Strawbery Banke Museum on July 4.

“The United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire is privileged to once again partner with Strawbery Banke and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to host a naturalization ceremony at such an historic venue,” Judge McCafferty said. “As America is a nation of immigrants, it is both fitting and symbolic to naturalize new citizens on Independence Day.” Congratulations to America’s newest citizens, as well as those set to take the Oath of Allegiance in the weeks to come. Our nation is stronger because of you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.