By N24 Correspondent, WASHINGTON DC:- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will honor Veterans Day this year by holding more than 90 ceremonies naturalizing more than 4,440 current and former members of the military and their families.
“Each year, on November 11, the nation honors members of the U.S. armed forces who have served our country and defended our freedom,” said a USCIS statement.
“USCIS is committed to serving the U.S. military community by making sure they have meaningful and efficient access to the immigration benefits they or their families may be entitled to,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “USCIS is dedicated to improving policies and procedures that assist service members and their loved ones on their path to U.S. citizenship.”
Additionally, USCIS Director Jaddou will strengthen the agency’s collaborative partnership with the National Park Service (through a memorandum of understanding) to ensure citizenship ceremonies continue to be held at national parks and historic federal landmarks that best represent the strength and spirit of the United States.
In honor of Veterans Day, Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary John K. Tien delivered a keynote address during a naturalization ceremony at the New York City Federal Building, where 78 candidates received U.S. citizenship. Deputy Secretary Tien, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy who spent 24 years in the Army, administered the Oath of Allegiance to several members of the U.S. armed forces.
Further, the USCIS was scheduled to host Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough for a special naturalization ceremony for current and former members of the military at the agency’s headquarters in Maryland. During this ceremony, USCIS Director Jaddou would also present retired Major Gen. Viet Xuan Luong with the Outstanding Americans by Choice award. This initiative recognizes the outstanding achievements of the naturalized U.S. citizens.
Luong is a native of Vietnam who fled the country with his family at a young age. He had a distinguished career in the U.S. military, having received numerous awards and decorations, and recently retired after 34 years of service.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas would conclude a series of special Veterans Day events at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, Maryland, where he would administer the Oath of Allegiance to 17 naturalization candidates, all of whom are military veterans or active-duty service members. Additionally, USCIS Director Jaddou would strengthen the agency’s collaborative partnership with the National Park Service to ensure that citizenship ceremonies would continue to be held at national parks and historic federal landmarks that best represent the strength and spirit of the United States.
Recently, the USCIS has enacted a number of policy initiatives to facilitate the naturalization process for current and former U.S. service members and their families.
In December 2020, the USCIS began conducting video interviews at overseas DOD facilities for eligible military members and qualifying family members stationed overseas.
“In March 2021, we began administering the Oath of Allegiance by video at overseas DOD facilities, allowing us to perform the entire naturalization process for eligible military members and qualifying family members stationed overseas. As of today, we have conducted 707 video interviews and administered 501 oaths virtually through this process,” said the USCIS statement.
In May 2021, USCIS updated guidance to ensure eligible former service members who served honorably during specifically designated periods of hostility and meet all other statutory requirements for naturalization can naturalize and become U.S. citizens in accordance with U.S. immigration laws.
Updated military naturalization statistics can be found on the USCIS Military Naturalization Statistics webpage.
“Following each naturalization ceremony, we encourage new U.S. citizens and their families and friends to share their naturalization photos on social media using the hashtags #NewUSCitizen,” added the USCIS.