U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will naturalize nearly 9,000 new American citizens this Independence Day week, USCIS announced Tuesday.
“We’re honored to celebrate Independence Day by welcoming new U.S. citizens at ceremonies across the United States,” USCIS Acting Director Lori Scialabba said in a statement. “It’s our pleasure to celebrate the fulfillment of their dreams of citizenship at the same time we celebrate the birth of our country.”
The ceremonies will be taking place at landmarks and public libraries across the country, including one President Obama will hold at the White House for service members who are not yet Americans.
Obama said he would be hosting the naturalization ceremony during his speech in the Rose Garden Monday in which he announced he plans to reform the nation’s immigration laws unilaterally through administrative action.
“They were prepared to fight and die for an America they did not yet fully belong to. I think they’ve earned their stripes in more ways than one. And that’s why on Friday morning we’re going to naturalize them in a ceremony right here at the White House. This Independence Day will be their first day as American citizens,” Obama said Monday.
USCIS has held and heralded its naturalization ceremonies on the Fourth of July for years. This year, however, the ceremonies occur amid a backdrop of immigration politics – with the President planning unilateral action in the face of congressional intransigence.
During the ceremonies the candidates for citizenship take the Oath of Allegiance, which reads:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.