Every year, communities across America come together to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution, and our newest citizens who everyday breathe new life our nation as a part of Constitution and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week September 17th – 23rd.
The week’s festivities began with President Obama’s proclamation officially designating “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, 2011.” In his proclamation, the President reminded us that we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – that each of us deserves to have our own destiny:
“Americans are defined not by bloodlines or allegiance to any one leader or faith, but by our shared ideals of liberty, equality, and justice under the law. We are a Nation of immigrants, built and sustained by people who have brought their talents, drive, and entrepreneurial spirit to our shores. Generations of newcomers have journeyed to this land because they believed in what our country stands for.”
Throughout the Obama Administration, officials are highlighting the importance of citizenship this week. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will welcome more than 27,000 new American citizens during 285 naturalization ceremonies held across the country and around the world during the week. This includes more than a dozen ceremonies that will be at national parks through collaboration between USCIS and the National Park Service designed to introduce our newest citizens to the natural wonders and treasured historic sites across our great country.
Today, the White House will host a special screening of Citizen USA: A 50-State Road Trip, a new HBO documentary by filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi that chronicles immigrants who are naturalized at ceremonies across our fifty states.
To complement the film screening, Administration officials will reflect on their own immigrant stories and speak to the progress the Obama Administration has made on immigrant integration. This past summer, the Administration’s New Americans-Citizenship and Integration Initiative traveled to several cities to learn more about state and local efforts to integrate immigrants.
This week, the White House will feature events taking place across the Administration in celebration of Constitution and Citizenship Day. We invite you to learn more about these activities and the President’s commitment to creating a 21st century immigration system that lives up the promise of America by visiting www.whitehouse.gov/immigration.
Felicia Escobar is Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration at the Domestic Policy Council.