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A Nation of Immigrants: President Obama Recognizes Citizenship Day 2013

President Barack Obama looks on as active duty service members take an oath during a naturalization ceremony

President Barack Obama, lower left, looks on as 24 active duty service members take an oath during a naturalization ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2010. (White House photo by Lawrence Jackson)

America was founded as a beacon of freedom, inclusion, and opportunity for the world, and has since thrived – powered largely by our unique diversity and constant influx of fresh energy, talent, and ideas. This is who we are, and what makes us great.

On September 17th, we paused to recognize National Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and to reaffirm our pride as a nation of immigrants. In more than 180 naturalization ceremonies taking place this week, over 18,000 new citizens are being welcomed into the American family.

But today we are also reminded of the countless individuals who at this point in our nation’s history do not have the opportunity to earn their citizenship. 11 million people are waiting in the shadows as a result of our broken immigration system, which is why the President and his Administration stand firmly with the majority of Americans pushing for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to earned citizenship. We know it is possible, we just need Congress to act, and finish the job.

Excerpt from today’s Proclamation by President Obama:

"We are a proud Nation of immigrants, home to a long line of aspiring citizens who contributed to their communities, founded businesses, or sacrificed their livelihoods so they could pass a brighter future on to their children. Each year on Citizenship Day, we welcome the newest members of the American family as they pledge allegiance to our Constitution and join us in writing the next chapter of our national story.

Throughout our history, immigrants have embraced the spirit of liberty, equality, and justice for all -- the same ideals that stirred the patriots of 1776 to rise against an empire, guided the Framers as they built a stronger republic, and moved generations to bridge our founding promise with the realities of our time."

Click here to read the President’s Proclamation on Constitution Day, Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week, 2013.

Click here to read more about the economic benefits of Citizenship.

Visit the Citizenship Resource Center to learn more about the naturalization process and find citizenship preparation and materials.