“Previous administrations have promoted naturalization, the Citizenship and Immigration Services official told CNN, but the Biden administration’s upcoming strategy forces additional agencies to work with USCIS to have a broader scope,” the report said. The VA would promote naturalization for current and former service members (the administration recently announced a plan to return deported veterans and family members), while the national parks would host naturalization ceremonies.
President Biden himself organized a naturalization ceremony before the Independence Day holiday on Friday, when 21 immigrants were sworn in as US citizens. The ceremony was also attended by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, and the acting director of USCIS, Tracy Renaud. Ur Jaddou, a former USCIS lead attorney and immigrant rights advocate, has been nominated by the administration to head the agency.
“Each of you has come to the United States for different circumstances and different reasons and for 16 different nationalities,” the president said. saying in his statements at the White House. “But like previous generations of immigrants, there is one trait they all share: courage. It takes courage to get up and drop everything you know and go somewhere else, no matter where you are. You know, the only homes you’ve ever known, the lives, the loved ones who couldn’t come, to a new beginning in the United States of America. ”
In addition, honored at the event by the president was Sandra Lindsay, who was the first American outside of a clinical trial to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Originally from Jamaica, Lindsay received The USCIS Award of Outstanding Americans by Choice, “which recognizes naturalized citizens who have made significant contributions to our country through civic participation, professional achievement, and responsible citizenship,” said the President.
“Sandra’s vaccination card, hospital gown and insignia she wore will be featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History exhibit on COVID-19,” he continued.
The 21 immigrants were among more than 9,000 people sworn in as US citizens in recent days. “Biden has tried to cast a different tone from the previous administration on immigration, underscoring the contributions immigrants make to society and moving away from anti-immigrant rhetoric, “CNN reported. Unable to cut legal immigration through legislation (like the Tom Cotton-backed bill popular with white supremacists), the previous administration used the novel coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to do so via executive order.
Immigrant rights organization America’s Voice praised the Biden administration’s steps to encourage naturalization, while calling on Democrats to use their power to pass permanent relief for millions of undocumented people. Senate Democrats have said they seek to open a path to citizenship for some immigrants through the reconciliation process. “Let’s commit to making this the year to further extend and expand citizenship. ” saying Executive Director Frank Sharry. “This is the time to formally recognize deep-rooted undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are. The nation wants it. It’s time for the majority to turn it in. “
“USCIS remains committed to empowering immigrants to obtain citizenship along with the rights and opportunities that accompany it,” Renaud told CNN. “There is no greater testament to America’s strength than our willingness to encourage others to join us as American citizens as we work together to build a more perfect union.”