CONTRIBUTED BY THE USCIS
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been celebrating Constitution Day and Citizenship Day this year by welcoming 21,000 new citizens in 335 naturalization ceremonies across the country between Sept. 17 and 23.
“It is an honor to welcome so many new Americans this Citizenship Day and Constitution Day,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “Citizenship Day and Constitution Day are special days at USCIS — an agency where many people come to work every day to help those at home and abroad realize the full meaning of U.S. citizenship. As we take time to reflect on what citizenship means to each of us, let us share in the commitment to invest fully in this country’s promise to be a place of hope and possibilities for all.”
On Sept. 17, the nation observed Constitution Day and Citizenship Day as part of Constitution Week (Sept. 17 to 23). The commemoration honored both the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and an observance that began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day.” Citizenship Day began in 1952, based on a law signed by President Harry Truman, and in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the first Constitution Week.
Each year, USCIS celebrates Constitution Day and Citizenship Day — and Constitution Week — by celebrating the connection between the Constitution and citizenship, reflecting on what it means to be a citizen of the United States, and holding special naturalization ceremonies across the country.
USCIS is committed to breaking down barriers and making the naturalization process accessible to all who are eligible as part of President Biden’s Executive Order 14012: Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. The Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization, released on July 2, 2021, calls for a community-based approach to encouraging the roughly 9 million lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization today.
Under the Biden-Harris administration, USCIS has taken a number of steps to support those seeking to naturalize. As part of the strategy, USCIS reinstated the Outstanding Americans by Choice (ABC) initiative, which was paused in November 2017, demonstrating our full resolve to honoring immigrants and their contributions to this country. The ABC initiative recognizes the significant achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens through civic participation, professional achievement and responsible citizenship. USCIS will honor these recipients throughout our Constitution Day and Citizenship Day ceremonies.
USCIS encourages new U.S. citizens to share their naturalization stories and photos on social media using the hashtag #NewUSCitizen.
Featured ceremonies/dignitaries have included:
• Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park Naturalization Ceremony — DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas participated in a Citizenship and Constitution Day naturalization ceremony at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park.
• Mount Vernon Naturalization Ceremony — USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou participated in a Citizenship and Constitution Day naturalization ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where USCIS recognized an Outstanding American by Choice.
• Boston Naturalization Ceremony — USCIS Acting Deputy Director Tracy Renaud participated in a Citizenship and Constitution Day naturalization ceremony at the Boston Federal Courthouse, where USCIS recognized an Outstanding American by Choice. Eva Millona, Assistant Secretary of the DHS Office of Partnership and Engagement also participated in the ceremony.
• Boston Naturalization Ceremony — Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten participated in a Citizenship and Constitution Day naturalization ceremony at the Boston Federal Courthouse.
• World War I Memorial being held on Sept. 23 — VA Secretary Denis McDonough and Felicia Escobar Carrillo, USCIS Chief of Staff will participate in a Citizenship and Constitution Day naturalization ceremony at the World War I Memorial (Pershing Park), Washington, DC.