Naturalization Ceremonies: Celebrating Citizenship and The Constitution

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Naturalization Ceremonies
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Many times each year, federal judges welcome new citizens by administering the Oath of Allegiance to those who have applied to become citizens of the United States. Judges from the Southern District of California are privileged to preside over these court proceedings each month. Special ceremonies were held in July, August and September of 2019 in distinctive places, honoring our service members in the military and celebrating the Constitution and Citizenship Day.

On July 5, 2019, Chief Judge Larry Alan Burns presided over a ceremony on the U.S.S. Midway aircraft carrier. This ceremony highlighted those military members who serve in the armed forces while not yet U.S. citizens. Members from all branches of the military, and their family members, were sworn in by Chief Judge Burns. U.S. District Judges M. James Lorenz and John A. Houston, and U.S. Magistrate Judges William V. Gallo and Andrew G. Schopler, all past or current members of the military, attended the ceremony as well.

Citizenship Day and Constitution Day, observed each year on September 17, celebrates all native born and naturalized citizens, and the ratification of The Constitution. This year, federal judges naturalized citizens at symbols of America’s favorite past time – Major League ballparks. On August 21, 2019, District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller presided over a naturalization ceremony in the outfield of Petco Park. Fifty applicants from 40 countries took the Oath of Allegiance and were able to stay and watch the San Diego Padres play the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On September 17, 2019, District Judge Janis L. Sammartino presided over a naturalization ceremony at Golden Hall, swearing in 813 adults representing 85 countries. Judge Sammartino addressed the new citizens highlighting the rights and privileges and duties they have as citizens of this country. Naturalization ceremonies in iconic places offer all citizens an opportunity to reflect on the words of the oath and the Pledge of Allegiance, which everyone at the ceremony has the chance to repeat, reminding all citizens of their rights, duties and the privilege to be a U.S. citizen.