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Secretary Napolitano and USCIS Director Mayorkas Lead Naturalization Ceremony For More Than 5,200 New U.S. Citizens at Fenway Park

Release Date: 
September 14, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Recognize International Women's Rights and Human Rights Advocate as Outstanding American by Choice

BOSTON-Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today led a naturalization ceremony for more than 5,200 new U.S. citizens representing 147 countries at Boston's Fenway Park in celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

"I am proud to welcome these men and women who have come from all over the world to become the newest citizens of our nation," said Secretary Napolitano. "Our social, economic, and civic vitality needs the contributions, the perspectives, and the experiences of all Americans-including our newest Americans."

"Our nation is defined and enriched by the diversity of our individual backgrounds," said Director Mayorkas. "I am honored to recognize these individuals from around the globe who have made America their home."

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner presided during the ceremony. Boston Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino also participated.

Secretary Napolitano and Director Mayorkas recognized Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Director of International Human Rights Policy at Wellesley College's Wellesley Centers for Women, as an Outstanding American by Choice for her dedication and commitment to championing women's rights and human rights around the world.

Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis has worked with non-profit and government organizations to develop innovative women's rights and human rights initiatives around the world. She serves as an advisor to several United Nations law reform initiatives, and is an Advisory Group member of the Secretariat for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). She was born in Sri Lanka and naturalized as a U.S. citizen on July 4, 2010.

The Fenway Park ceremony is part of USCIS' celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, celebrated every Sept. 17 in remembrance of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. From Sept. 13-24, an estimated 9,000 candidates will become citizens at 63 special ceremonies held across the country and around the world.

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