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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th Naturaliza​tion Ceremony

What better day than July 4th, Independence Day, to become a bonafide U.S. citizen?
To twenty-four U.S. active duty service men and women, today is one to be proud of.
President Obama looks at active duty military as they take the oath of citizenship.  Photo/CD Brown.
"With this ceremony today, and ceremonies like it across our country, we affirm another truth", said President Obama.  "Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.  We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means: we are a nation of immigrants." 
Oluwatosin K Akinduro, a native of Nigeria has been living in the US for twenty-two years since the age of six. He currently serves in the Army National Guard.  Today upgrades his status from permanent resident to U.S. Citizen.



"Today is a big day for me", Akinduro said.  "It's another monumental moment in my life showing that with Christ all things are possible."   "My family is very proud of me", he said.
Lance Corporal Byron Acevedo of Guatemala City, Guatemala, said he "feels really proud" being a citizen of what he called "the greatest country in the world" and being a part of the "greatest military in the world, the Marines."
Lance Corporal Byron Acevedo became a US citizen during today's naturalization ceremony. Photo/CD Brown.
"I've been in the Army for two and half years, and served in the National Guard for one year.  I just made the decision to become a citizen rather than update my green card."
Many feel that today's ceremony, recognizing immigrants who have become US citizens "the right way", far outways the president's legislation that had the nation up in arms that now allows hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants to stay in the country.
Many of today's service members came to the United States as children.

Other active duty service members who became naturalized today were Miguel Andrade, born and raised in the Cape Verde Islands; Alla Victorovna Ausheva of Russia; Francisco Jose Ballesteros de la Rosa of Mexico; Oscar Javier Beltran Medina of Bolivia; Silvano Carcamo of Honduras; Luisa Maria Childers of El Salvador; Mamadou Aliou Diallo of Conakry, Guinea; Terence Njikang Ekabe, of Cameroon; Sergey Eliseev of Russia; Andriy Olegovich Gener of Odessa, Ukraine; Daniel Arcenal Geneta from the Philippines; Alexey Isachenko also from Russia; Yvonne Marie Middleton-White, of Belize (her first year in the US military).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas &
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano with President Obama.
Full list here.

Added the president, "It has taken these men and women, these Americans, years, even decades, to realize their dream.  And this, too, reminds us of a lesson of the Fourth.  On that July day, our Founders declared their independence.  But they only declared it; it would take another seven years to win the war.  Fifteen years to forge a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.  Nearly 90 years, and a great Civil War, to abolish slavery.  Nearly 150 years for women to win the right to vote.  Nearly 190 years to enshrine voting rights.  And even now, we’re still perfecting our union, still extending the promise of America."
The ceremony was facilitated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas who presented the countries of the candidates for naturalization. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delivered the oath of allegiance.
Senior Administration Officials participated at naturalization ceremonies around the country during the past week, including Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in New York; Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley in Massachusetts; Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz in Virginia, and Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu in Maryland.
The President hosted similar naturalization ceremonies at the White House on May 1, 2009 and April 23, 2010.
Watch Naturalization video here.

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