In a little noticed ceremony that took place in Baghdad on the 4th of July, Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of citizenship to 237 soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. The new Americans were mostly Mexican and Filipino-born servicemen and women, but the group also included a handful of Iraqis who became full citizens of the United States. The citizenship oath reads as follows:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
“Vice President Biden deserves high praise for making time during his visit to Iraq to confer one of the most important honors this country can bestow on an immigrant: citizenship,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “Immigrants from all walks of life and all backgrounds put their lives on the line every day in our armed forces because they believe in the American Dream. These servicemen and women have truly earned their citizenship by serving the country they call home. Undoubtedly, a number of those immigrant soldiers who have gained citizenship in recent years come from “mixed status” families, meaning some of their loved ones live in the U.S. are without authorization and without the protection of our laws. It is our hope that the ‘can do’ spirit, hard work and tenacity of America’s immigrants – as reflected in the 4th of July citizenship ceremony in Iraq – will inspire our political leaders on both sides of the aisle to build an immigration system that reflects our finest ideals as a nation. Our brave servicemen and women live and breathe this spirit every day, and so can we.”