Everyone in Pierce County is invited to watch local immigrants become American citizens during a ceremony on Sat., Sept. 20 in Tacoma.
The naturalization ceremony—the final step to attain citizenship—begins promptly at 11 a.m. at the Mount Tahoma High School Auditorium, located at 4634 S. 74th St., in Tacoma. The ceremony, conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is free and open to the public.
“A naturalization ceremony is a powerful reminder for us all to be better Americans,” said Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. “During the course of voter registration and elections, there’s a lot of talk about patriotism, rights, and responsibilities. Too often, Americans take their citizenship for granted.”
Four years ago the Pierce County Auditor’s Office spearheaded a group dedicated to having the ceremony close to home. In the past, Pierce County residents had to travel to Seattle to complete their citizenship. During the first Pierce County Citizenship Celebration, which was held on Sat., Sept. 27, 2011, 95 people from 38 countries became U. S. citizens.
Approximately 75 immigrants are expected to participate and become American citizens. Together with their family members and supporters, nearly 400 people are expected to attend.
The Sons of the American Revolution will be on hand in period dress and will post the colors. Pocket-sized books of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights will be given away with American flags and pins.
“Pierce County is proud of each and every immigrant and refugee who makes the tremendous effort to complete the naturalization process,” added Anderson.
The ceremony is planned by the Pierce County Auditor’s Office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and a number of local non-profit partners. It was made possible this year by a donation from the Haughton Family Foundation. Partnering organizations include Centro Latino, The Haughton Family Foundation, Pierce County Auditor’s Office, Secretary of State’s Office, Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Tacoma Community House, MSM – Multicultural Self-Sufficiency Movement, OneAmerica, and the Korean Women’s Association.
The ceremony date coincides with Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, which are observed on Weds., Sept. 17. This national holiday commemorates the signing of the Constitution and the recognition of “all who, by naturalization, have become citizens.”
More information is available online here.