15,000 People Celebrated The Fourth Of July By Becoming American Citizens

"These new members of our community will add to the diverse fabric of our nation."

Almost 15,000 people became American citizens on Tuesday, celebrating Independence Day during citizenship ceremonies across the country.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which hosted 65 naturalization ceremonies, that number is more than double the 7,000 people who became citizens on the same day last year. USCIS tweeted out pictures of the ceremonies in convention centers, baseball fields, libraries and other public places across the country.


In Seattle alone, 506 people from 67 different nations took their oath to become citizens.

While the ceremonies were joyous, the process isn't always so easy. In order to become citizens, immigrants who are not marrying a citizen must be permanent residents for five years before applying for citizenship. Once they do, they have to pass an immigration test that just two-thirds of voting age, American-born citizens can pass. 

As noted by HuffPost, Sen. Kamala Harris, whose parents are from India and Jamaica, spoke about protecting rights of immigrants in an appearance at a Los Angeles swearing in ceremony.  

"Whenever you feel that future is threatened, whenever those values of liberty and justice for all that drew us here seem under assault, you need to speak up and speak out," Harris said. "That's the whole point of the freedoms we cherish."

In 2016, about 753,800 people became naturalized citizens, according to USCIS. That amounts to just over 2,000 a day, making the 15,000 people sworn in on July 4 an unusually high number for a single day.

"July Fourth marks the birth of our country, and for 15,000 people, it marks the birth of a new chapter as American citizens," USCIS Acting Director James McCament said in a statement released online. "These new members of our community will add to the diverse fabric of our nation and will now be able to enjoy the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship."


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