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“The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient…”

We won’t fault you for a lack of awareness on this one, but today is actually a federal holiday. It’s Constitution and Citizenship Day, created in 2004, and intended to honor the signing of the Constitution at the U.S. Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. The day also celebrates citizenship in all its forms, recognizing all who, by birth or by naturalization, have become US citizens.

USCIS is conducting naturalization ceremonies around the world today, administering the Oath of Allegiance to over 8,400 individuals during 72 ceremonies.

The Secretary participated in a similar naturalization ceremony at the Pentagon last week and administered the Oath of Allegiance to 31 members of the U.S. armed forces. We’re happy to bring you some video from that event. Check it out in the player below or on our Youtube channel.

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USCIS also announced a total of $1.2 million in new Citizenship Grants, designed to help organizations prepare Legal Permanent Residents for citizenship. The grants were awarded to 13 organizations:
  • Association House of Chicago;
  • Catholic Charities of Dallas Inc.;
  • Central American Resource Center, Los Angeles;
  • Federation Employment and Guidance Service Inc., New York, N.Y.;
  • International Institute of St. Louis;
  • International Rescue Committee Inc., San Diego;
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Services, San Francisco;
  • Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest Inc., East Orange, N.J.;
  • Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas, Raleigh, N.C.;
  • OneAmerica, Seattle;
  • Progreso Latino, Central Falls, R.I.;
  • Saint Mark Roman Catholic Parish, Dorchester, Mass.;
  • and Young Women’s Christian Association of Tulsa, Okla.
“We are proud to support our new grantees,” said Mayorkas. “In the spirit of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, I am pleased to announce that we will be working with these organizations to help immigrants pursue citizenship and become fully vested members of their communities.”

Check out the full release from USCIS.

It also seems an appropriate day to brush up on our nation’s guiding document, don’t you think? Benjamin Franklin delivered a speech at the convention following the signing, arguing the case for unanimity among the states on the issue of ratification:

“I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good.”

For the record, the nine states required for ratification did so by June 21st of the following year.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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