While Washington Debates Undocumented Immigration, Thousands Of Immigrants Gain Their Citizenship

Millions of immigrants try to enter the US properly every year. Many get bogged in the system, many get turned around, but they all seek to earn their citizenship by playing by the rules. National politics renders them all but invisible, but each week many make it through. Last week US Citizenship and Immigration Services welcomed in more than 19,000 new citizens in 135 ceremonies across the country.

“While all of our 44 presidents came from different backgrounds and held different political views, each recognized that we could not have succeeded as a nation if not for the contributions of generations of immigrants whose courage and tireless efforts helped make this nation what it is today,” USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas said in a USCIS blog post Friday.

An event took place at George Washington‘s Mount Verson Esate in Alexandria, VA Friday in which 50 US immigrants swore the Oath of Allegiance.

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges,”Felicia Escobar, Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council, quoted George Washington.

During the event, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, founder and President of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc., was recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice.

“Like you,” Dr. Teferra said to his fellow new citizens. “I chose to become an American citizen because this country gives people the opportunity to explore their individuality, hone their talents, and use their skills effectively and meaningfully.”

Millions of US immigrants are still waiting for the chance to become citizens of the land they have chosen as their home.

[Image via USCIS]