Home AMERICA Biden hosts 21 new U.S. citizens at White House naturalization ceremony

Biden hosts 21 new U.S. citizens at White House naturalization ceremony

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US President Joe Biden watches people take the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony for new citizens ahead of Independence Day in the East Room of the White House on July 2, 2021 in Washington DC.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden hosted a naturalization ceremony on Friday to swear in and welcome 21 new American citizens ahead of Independence Day.

“It is the dreams of immigrants like you that build America and continue to infuse new energy, new vitality and new strength,” Biden said at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

The event was also joined by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyercas, who shared the story of his immigrant parents’ travel to the United States as refugees.

“Our country is better today because its identity and its fabric as a nation of immigrants is stronger because of you,” Mayerkas said after the new citizens were sworn in.

Tracey Renaud, Acting Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, performed the swearing-in ceremony. USCIS announced Thursday That it will organize 170 naturalization ceremonies in the first week of July.

The jubilant ceremony at the White House defies the challenge of the Biden administration as it works to stem the ongoing migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border.

The president came into office, pledging to pursue an immigration policy that was more humane and more systematic than that of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

At Friday’s ceremony, Biden commended immigrants for their contributions to the country, noting that many serve in the military or are working as health care and frontline workers during the pandemic.

The president also presented an award to Sandra Lindsey, a nurse from Long Island who immigrated to the US from Jamaica at the age of 18.

Lindsay was the first person in the US to have a vaccine completely outside of clinical trials, Biden said. He said his scrubs will be part of a future exhibit about Covid at the Smithsonian Institution.

“Since the founding of our country, the idea that quintessentially America has been nurtured and advanced by the contributions and sacrifices of so many people, almost all of whom were immigrants,” Biden said.

The president also took the opportunity to explain his administration’s efforts to reform the immigration system.

He highlighted his support for an immigration reform bill introduced by Democrats in February, which includes improving border management and security and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people in the US.

He also praised Vice President Kamala Harris’ efforts to identify the “root causes” of the recent surge of Central American migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.

Harris visited the southern border earlier this month, but faced criticism from Republicans for not getting there early.

The heart of the migrant surge has been an unprecedented surge in the number of unaccompanied minors caught at the border and sent to US government custody if suitable guardians are located.

But the number has been falling steadily since reaching a high in March this year. As of Tuesday, there were 14,400 minors alone in US government care, a 35% drop from two months ago, when the Department of Health and Human Services was housing more than 22,000 minors.

Democrats and pro-migrant activists are urging Biden to further reduce border enforcement and do more to ensure the humane treatment of migrant children and families at the southern border.

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