In an emotional day filled with national pride and patriotism, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California welcomed 890 new U.S. citizens during two naturalization ceremonies Wednesday at the Pasadena Convention Center.
The citizenship candidates originated from 72 countries, with most coming from Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, China, Iran, Philippines, El Salvador, Guatemala, Taiwan, and India.
U.S. District Judge Mark. C. Scarsi told the citizenship candidates that this nation’s founding fathers called the country the “Great American Experiment.”
“They took a risky chance,” he continued. “They hoped that by setting up a nation ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ they could create a country that would stand the test of time, and enshrine the basic principles of freedom, liberty and justice for all.”
“And the Great American Experiment worked,” Judge Scarsi continued. “Because, by guaranteeing freedom, liberty and justice, America has been able to attract waves of new Americans such as yourselves, who have enriched our country with your unique culture and talents, and helped America grow and prosper.”
In a video address, U.S. President Joe Biden also welcomed the new citizens.
Said Biden, “Welcome, my fellow Americans. First and foremost, I want to thank you for choosing us, and believing that America is worthy of your aspirations.
“Every immigrant comes to America from different circumstances,” he added, “and for different reasons. But you all have one thing in common. Courage. The courage that it takes to sacrifice and make this journey.”
Judge Scarsi then led the immigrants in their oath of allegiance and welcomed them to their new lives.
Miriam Samy, an immigrant from Egypt, called the experience “amazing.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” she said, as patriotic music filled the auditorium. “I feel so blessed and I feel so honored. I have lived in this country for ten years now, and today I am becoming a citizen. It means so much to me and my family.”
Following the oaths and announcements and the paperwork, the new Americans burst out the doors of the auditorium and into the arms of their waiting friends, guests, and loved ones, who greeted them with hugs, flags and flowers.