POTUS attends a swearing-of-allegiance ceremony for 21 naturalized Americans, including several now serving in the armed forces.

POTUS returned to the East Room at 2:53 pm, where previously he had been host to the Dodgers, for a swearing-of-allegiance ceremony for 21 naturalized Americans, including several now serving in the armed forces.

This appears to be the first such ceremony in the White House since President Trump did a small one that turned out to be for the Republican National Convention, though that seemed to surprise those sworn in at the time.

The introduction on Friday was done by Tracy Reno, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration. The new citizens came from 16 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to New Zealand. She swore them in, and the Sec. Of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, took the stage, described how his mother had been a political refugee twice, first from the Nazis, then from Cuba, where she brought the secretary as an infant.  

“Today our nation is better than it was yesterday,’’ he said, “in part because we have new citizens. He introduced POTUS, who described his own ancestors’ trip to America in a coffin-ship in 1849, from Ireland, “having no idea whether they would make it across the Atlantic to the United States.”

He then traced their move to Scranton. “And I stand here on the shoulders of sacrifices of my great great grandfather, my great grandfather, my grandfather…” 

He repeated what he had said to the Dodgers, about how America was “founded on an idea,’’ and that “every other nation in the world was founded on your geography, or ethnicity or religion.”  Then he said “you can’t define an American,’’ describing the nation’s diversity. 

He recalled swearing in new citizens, all members of the military,  in Saddam Hussein’s palace in Baghdad. “I got to swear them in, in the palace of a dictator.”  Then he talked about immigration reform, “smart border management,” and cited “Vice President Harris’s leadership for getting into the root causes of why people are migrating.” 

“We need an immigration system that reflects our values, and upholds our laws. We can do both,’’ he said. He presented an award to a nurse from New York, Sandra Lindsay, an immigrant from Jamaica. He described her work saving patients at a hospital on Long Island, saying “she poured her heart and soul into the work” of saving COVID-19 patients, while some of her own relatives died. And she was “the first person in ‘America to get fully vaccinated outside of clinical trials.” Her scrubs will be in an exhibit about Covid at the Smithsonian, he announced.

They ended with the pledge of allegiance. 

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