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Immigrants taking the oath of citizenship.

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 8, 2016: On July 4, 2016, as the United States marked its 240th birthday – the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776 – the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services celebrated thousands of new citizens all across the country.

This year, the US welcomed more than 7,000 new citizens in over 50 Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies between July 1 and 4, 2016. Immigrants took the oath of naturalization from Seattle to Rhode Island to Massachusetts; from New York to Florida to California to Arizona; from New Mexico to North Carolina to Virginia, and from Arizona to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

In Seattle alone, more than 500 new U.S. citizens from more than 80 countries – the largest daytime Independence Day observance in the Northwest – were sworn in by U.S. Circuit Judge Richard C. Tallman at Fisher Pavilion.

In most other cities, the naturalization was included as part of their July Fourth celebration, an indication of the value most of America still places on immigrants today – despite the racist rhetoric flowing from some quarters.

For most, the ceremony is the last step in a lengthy naturalization process. From getting a green card to naturalization, it is almost five years. New immigrants’ must also prove their knowledge of American government and of spoken English, and many have to wait for months or even years for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to process their paperwork and undergo fingerprinting and a background check, before being called to an interview and being approved.

But this year, many immigrants, fueled by the hate coming from the GOP Presidential candidate’s mouth, are enduring the process and becoming citizens. In the naturalization oath, new citizens swear to support the Constitution of the United States, and voting is an integral part of that Constitution.

Come November 8th, these 7,000 plus citizens will be among the new voters added to the election rolls around the country. This is significant for the continued rise of the immigrant voting bloc across the country and not so good news for the GOP and its band of anti-immigrant fear mongers.

Immigrant voters realize this is the most important election of their lives and the future of their children and their children’s children is at stake. It is imperative that they not only register to vote but go out and vote.

This will be the real Independence Day – taking back of the U.S. Congress and Senate from the Republican Party that has held us hostage for too long, and holding on to the White House to show the power of immigrants is here to stay.

Let us ensure July 4, 2017 we are celebrating the fact that immigration reform is finally being addressed and becomes a reality for the millions who desperately need it. The power is in our vote!


The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.


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