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.
The candidates for naturalization arrived to Ellis Island by boat, and left as citizens of the United States of America.
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.
Secretary Johnson administered the Oath of Allegiance, and was the first to welcome the group as our fellow Americans.
“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!