City of Alexandria Welcomes New Citizens at Citizenship Day Celebration
Alexandria City Hall was treated to the sound of 25 new United States citizens taking their Oath of Allegiance on Tuesday, September 12. Mayor Justin Wilson joined officials from local and federal government in Alexandria’s Market Square to welcome the country’s newest citizens.
“We celebrate the rebirth of our democracy constantly,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “You are rebirthing our democracy by reenergizing our nation.”
People from 25 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America, assembled to pledge their allegiance and become new U.S. citizens. Washington Field Office Director Kimberly Zanotti from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was present to lead them in the naturalization Oath of Allegiance. They join over 500 other naturalized citizens who have taken the Oath at Alexandria’s Citizenship Day ceremonies since 2003.
To become a naturalized citizen, an individual must meet federal requirements, including a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; the ability to read, write, and speak English; knowledge and understanding of United States history and government; good moral character; and attachment to constitutional principles.
Alexandria’s Citizenship Day provides an opportunity for the City and its residents to publicly celebrate the process of immigrants becoming citizens and adding to the nation’s diversity. It also leads into Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17, a federal recognition of the day in 1787 when the country’s founders signed the U.S. Constitution. During that day and the following week, USCIS encourages Americans to reflect on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and what it means to be a U.S. citizen. Wilson made sure the significance was not lost the new citizens.
“We expect a lot out of you,” he told them. “We want you to be part of our community, we want you to participate in our community—be on boards and councils.”
In addition to Mayor Wilson, USCIS officials, and new U.S. citizens, City Manager James Parajon, and City Councilman Canek Aguirre were in attendance to watch and welcome the participants to the City of Alexandria, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States of America as new citizens.
If you prefer communication in another language, free interpretation and translation services are available to you, please call the Office of Communications & Public Information at 703.746.3960.