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11,000 To Be Sworn in as New Americans Throughout Independence Day Holiday, Doubling Figures from Last Year’s Observances

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The U.S. welcomed more than 5,500 new citizens during last year’s July 4 celebrations, including Sudanese immigrant Adam Maxmoud, whose pathway to legalization was temporarily halted by the pandemic. “I have been counting the days on my fingers, counting the days to have this very special day,” he said. 

Many more Americans-in-waiting are experiencing this same elation this week. According to figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, this year’s July 4 observances are expected to double last year’s naturalization numbers.

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will celebrate Independence Day this year by welcoming approximately 11,000 new citizens in more than 195 naturalization ceremonies between June 28 and July 5,” the agency said in a release. “These ceremonies demonstrate our government’s commitment to welcoming immigrants and promoting the benefits of U.S. citizenship for all who are eligible.”

USCIS is holding naturalization ceremonies in more than two dozen states, as well as a number of special ceremonies overseas for active military service members. Special ceremonies are also planned for the U.S. “On July 4, Deputy Assistant to the President Blas Nuñez-Neto will participate in a ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon,” USCIS said. “Additional Independence Day ceremonies will be held across the country, including at Battleship New Jersey, Gateway Arch National Park in Missouri, and Fort Clatsop, Lewis & Clark National Historic Park, in Oregon.”

NPR recently interviewed a number of immigrants who recently took the Oath of Allegiance and became Americans on paper. “It’s the proudest moment right now for me,” said Bernadette Medina, originally from Belize and has lived in the U.S. for nearly 50 years. “It’s wonderful.” She’s thrilled about being able to vote for the first time in this upcoming election. Eduardo Batista, originally from Mexico, also became a U.S. citizen. It took him more than 20 years to get through the paperwork process.

“This is my home because I’ve been here most of my life, living here in this country,” he told NPR. “I just want to be living here and following the laws and I love this country.”

Hundreds of new Americans were similarly welcomed throughout June, which also marked Immigrant Heritage Month. Ceremonies took place in states including Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Nebraska, where the Scotts Bluff National Monument hosted its first-ever naturalization event.

The Gering Courier reported that the new citizens were welcomed by Chief Ranger Justin Cawiezel, who noted that the monument is an important landmark on the Oregon Trail. “Cawiezel said those westward travelers undertook the hard journey to create better lives for themselves and their families, and that their example — along with the best and worst of U.S. history — should not be forgotten.”

“Each and every one of you belongs here,” Empowering Families Executive Director Valeria Rodriguez told the audience. “Let us, together, continue to celebrate the beauty of our community’s diversity, and continue to uphold the values that make America a beacon of freedom and opportunity for all.”

“In fiscal year 2023, USCIS welcomed 878,500 new U.S. citizens,” the agency said. “So far in FY 2024, USCIS has welcomed 589,400 new citizens and made significant progress in reducing our naturalization pending queues.” The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) announced in May that AAPI individuals make up the largest group of new Americans since the last presidential election. “And among the total 3.5 million people nationwide that have naturalized since November 2020, we see a powerful emerging voting bloc that is young, ethnically diverse, and predominantly women,” said Nicole Melaku, NPNA executive director.

“At USCIS we are privileged to administer the Oath of Allegiance to thousands of new citizens during the Independence Day holiday,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “These new citizens add diversity and character to our great nation, and we are committed to helping all who are eligible to experience the freedoms and liberties we enjoy as U.S. citizens.”

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