Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) activities converged on an honorable theme: commemorating Independence Day through service to our nation. Throughout the week, DHS components and employees incorporated the spirit of Independence Day into their efforts, continued to carry out the unwavering DHS mission to protect the U.S., and reflected on how their service contributes to the success of our nation.
Beginning on Wednesday, July 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held special naturalization ceremonies at iconic landmarks across the nation in honor of Independence Day. The more than 50 naturalization ceremonies culminated in a final July 4th ceremony at George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon. USCIS Director León Rodriguez delivered remarks, and was featured as the DHS Photo of the Week. In total, more than 4,000 citizenship candidates experienced their first Independence Day as new U.S. citizens this week, and many shared their heartfelt moments using the hashtag #newUScitizen on social media. Check out photos on USCIS’s Facebook page.
In the spirit of Independence Day, we asked DHS employees to reflect on why they serve the Department and the Nation. Many employees volunteered to share their stories leading to service and the inspiration that continues to motivate their patriotic efforts each day. You can read about Kevin Rankin of the Federal Protective Service, Veronica Cruz Chacon of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Gabriella Marino of the DHS Management Directorate, Kamryn Jaroszewski of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Ivette and Anthony Maniece of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). We are inspired by the selfless dedication and service of our men and women. Learn more about why #DHSServes here.
Finally, in an expression of our nation’s values, DHS announced a heightened effort to help some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S.: victims of human trafficking. The DHS Blue Campaign - the Department-wide effort to fight human trafficking - is further developing its public awareness messages to increase national understanding and reporting of the crime. New messages will inform travelers passing through major airports, truck stops, and motorist gas stations throughout the U.S. about the signs of human trafficking and how to contact law enforcement to help potential victims.