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...on this historic island

Secretary Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas were on Ellis Island in New York City today and lead a naturalization ceremony today, granting 110 people United States citizenship.

The ceremony took place in the Great Room, also known as the Registry Hall, where over 12 million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island were registered upon arrival. Constructed with a tiled floor and ceiling, it’s said that the clamor of footsteps and disquiet of different languages on a busy day must have been overwhelming at times.

The Secretary had the honor of administering the Oath of Allegiance, and remarked,

“Ellis Island reminds us of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that so many immigrants have brought to America,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I am honored to welcome these men and women as citizens of our nation and I applaud their commitment to the responsibilities and ideals shared by all Americans.”

Director Mayorkas added, “It is fitting that these individuals received today the cherished gift of citizenship on this historic island, a national symbol of hope and opportunity.”

The new citizens hail from 48 different countries, including China, Ghana, Kosovo, Colombia, Jamaica and Lebanon.

Flor Dominguez came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. She’s 95 years old, has lived in the United States for 16 years, and when asked by a reporter why she wanted to become a U.S. citizen, said,

“Porque me gusta este pais, lo agradezco. Y quiero tener el voto.”
“Because I like this country. I appreciate it. And I want to vote.”
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