Attorney General Eric Holder delivered keynote remarks after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas administered the Oath of Allegiance to 70 new citizens today during a special naturalization ceremony at the Department of Justice's Great Hall.
"Like millions of immigrants who came before them -- including my father and grandparents, who came to this country many years ago from Barbados -- these new citizens have demonstrated remarkable faith in the principles of equality, opportunity and justice that have always stood at the core of our identity as a nation," said Attorney General Holder. "Many of them have faced great difficulties -- and grave dangers -- to reach this moment. But each of their individual stories proves the enduring promise of the American dream, and it's a tremendous honor to welcome them as the newest members of our great and diverse American family."
"The Department of Justice has a proud history of protecting vulnerable immigrants from those who seek to exploit them," said Director Mayorkas. "It is an honor to welcome these new citizens alongside the Attorney General in the Great Hall--a symbol of the promise our nation makes to all its citizens to secure equal justice under the law."
The new citizens naturalized at today's ceremony hailed from the following 34 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
The department and USCIS are part of a multi-agency, nationwide initiative to combat immigration services scams. This initiative targets immigration scams involving the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL), which occurs when legal advice and/or representation regarding immigration matters is provided by an individual who is not an attorney or accredited representative.