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  6. Welcoming New U.S. Citizens: Ellis Island Naturalization Ceremony

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Welcoming New U.S. Citizens: Ellis Island Naturalization Ceremony

Release Date: June 1, 2016

On Friday, May 27, we welcomed 61 new U.S. citizens from 39 countries during a special naturalization ceremony on Ellis Island.

Ellis Island was the gateway for more than 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954.

Secretary Johnson travels by boat to Ellis Island
Photo Credit USCIS (DHS Photo by /Released)

The candidates for naturalization arrived to Ellis Island by boat, and left as citizens of the United States of America.

Secretary Johnson and others pose at Ellis Island
Photo Credit: Barry Bahler/DHS (DHS Photo by /Released)

Presiding over the ceremony were Secretary Jeh Johnson, USCIS Acting Regional Director Susan Curda, USCIS New York District Director Phyllis Coven, and National Parks Service Superintendent John Pilzecker.

Participants wait to take the oath
(DHS Photo by /Released)

Secretary Johnson addresses participants and guests
Photo Credit: Barry Bahler/DHS (DHS Photo by /Released)

Secretary Johnson administered the Oath of Allegiance, and was the first to welcome the group as our fellow Americans.

Attendees applaud the new citizens
Photo Credit: Barry Bahler/DHS (DHS Photo by /Released)

“But there’s something else very special about this ceremony. Since you’ve been in this country, I suspect a lot of you, when people approach you and they look at you, or they listen to your accent, they look at the color of your skin, they look how you’re dressed, they look at the texture of your hair. They say, ‘Where are you from?’

“From this moment forward, when someone asks you that question, you can say, ‘I’m an American just like you.’ From this moment forward, when someone calls a roll call of where you are from, you are entitled to stand up when they say United States of America. I hope all of you appreciate that.” – Secretary Jeh Johnson

Congratulations to these outstanding new Americans!

Passing Statue of Liberty on the way back to NY
Photo Credit: Barry Bahler/DHS (DHS Photo by /Released)

Last Updated: 09/07/2021
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