Editors' Note: This blog originally appeared on the U.S. Department of Treasury's blog, Treasury Notes, on July 3
Posted by Sabrina Siddiqui, spokesperson for Tax, Budget and Economic Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury
Shortly after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, Secretary Lew this morning addressed thirty special guests in Treasury’s historic Cash Room as “fellow Americans” for the first time in their lives. The special moment came during a naturalization ceremony held at the Treasury Department’s headquarters in Washington, DC, and in front of the friends and families of the new citizens.
As the son of immigrants himself, Secretary Lew explained how the United States gave his own family “the promise of freedom and opportunity,” a promise that has taken him far: “Today I stand here as a first generation American and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. That is something my parents could never have foreseen half a century ago.”
The Secretary also addressed the significant economic benefits of welcoming more hard-working immigrants into the U.S. and called for the passage of the bipartisan immigration bill currently before Congress:
- This comprehensive legislation does a number of things. It strengthens our borders. It provides a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million people who are here illegally. And it will boost economic growth.
- The bill will drive growth by bringing highly skilled scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to the United States.
- At the same time,this bill will create a new wave of consumers who will fuel demand and generate economic activity. The effect will be enormous. More new businesses. More new jobs. And more exports.
- We will also see our deficits shrink, and with added workers on our payrolls, Social Security and Medicare will be put on a more stable footing. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, this legislation will lower our deficits by nearly a trillion dollars over the next two decades.
Secretary Lew ended his remarks with some thoughts on Independence Day, saying that on July 4th we not only celebrate the birth of our nation, but the contributions of the millions of immigrants who have helped build America, including the first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, “who built our economy.” The Secretary told the group of new citizens that “we are celebrating all of you, not only for what you have given, but for what you will continue to give to this country—a country whose future we all share.”
Participants were from the following 22 countries: Afghanistan, Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo,Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Russia, Somalia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Vietnam.
The ceremony was part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ annual celebration of Independence Day. More than 7,800 people will become citizens at more than 100 special ceremonies across the country and around the world from July 1 to July 5.