Monday, Oct 18, 2010
On Tuesday, October 12th, Point Reyes National Seashore, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, hosted a naturalization ceremony at the Bear Valley picnic area. This is the first time that the park has hosted such an event.
Seventeen people from 14 different countries, including Australia, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Eretria, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United Kingdom, became naturalized citizens. Family members and close friends of the candidates came to show their support for this special event. Park employees and visitors also watched on as the candidates stated the oath of allegiance and received their certificates of naturalization. Nearly 100 people were in attendance.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Section Chief Bill Cass introduced John Eleby, park ranger from Point Reyes, who sang the National Anthem. Then Robin Barrett, field office director of San Francisco’s USCIS office, administered the Oath of Allegiance. Superintendent Cicely Muldoon then welcomed the candidates and their families in the keynote address.
“I can’t think of a better place to take an oath of citizenship than in one of America’s national parks,” said Muldoon. “The national parks are places of hope and inspiration for all citizens. They preserve our heritage, our history, and our spectacular natural landscapes. And with the oath you just took, all 392 of these extraordinary places now belong to each of you. Welcome!”
This event is part of USCIS’s annual celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. An estimated 9,258 candidates became citizens at 63 special ceremonies held across the country and around the world between September 13th and September 24th. Each year, Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17th in remembrance of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Since 1952, Citizenship Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Constitution Day, although Congress first underscored the significance of United States citizenship in 1940, when Congress designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day.”