On this past Fourth of July, nearly 15,000 immigrants—double the number from 2016 and triple the number from 2015—stood, raised their right hands and solemnly took the oath of U.S. citizenship:
"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."
While naturalization ceremonies are always stirring events, those held on our nation's birthday are particularly so, evoking strong emotions of patriotism for both new and native-born Americans.
A special day deserves a special location, and many of the 65+ ceremonies were held in national parks, historic buildings, battleships, and the homes of founding fathers—including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon.
Candidates for naturalization must pass the test for U.S. citizenship, and 97 percent of would-be citizens do, in fact, pass. Sadly, only 2/3 of voting-age Americans pass this same test.
Naturalization ceremonies often include a congratulatory speech from an elected official. At Mount Vernon, this task happily fell to founding father General George Washington (played by his official reenactor), who eloquently welcomed his fellow Americans to both his home and our country.
Over the years, we have helped hundreds of immigrants realize their dream of becoming U.S. citizens. To them and all the others who take this momentous step, we say congratulations, welcome and thank you.
Thank you for choosing us!
Fourth of July Naturalization Ceremony at George Washington's Mount Vernon.