Gov. Perry Addresses More Than 1,000 New Citizens in Austin's Largest Naturalization Ceremony in History
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today delivered the keynote address to more than 1,000 new American citizens at the largest naturalization ceremony in Austin’s history. Hosted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and presided over by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, a total of 1,023 Austin and Waco area residents representing 85 countries took the Oath of Allegiance to become citizens.
“Today marks the culmination of a great journey for more than one thousand new American citizens,” said Gov. Perry. “I am proud to call these individuals my fellow countrymen. From this day on, we will live, work and fight for one another, as one nation under God.”
The ceremony featured performances by the Stephen F. Austin High School Chamber Orchestra of America the Beautiful and God Bless America. The orchestra’s teacher and conductor Ana Maria Solis-Herrera, a native of Mexico who immigrated to the United States in 2003, became a U.S. citizen during the ceremony. Following the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the crowd of more than 1,600 placed their hands over their hearts to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
“You are now part of a nation which cherishes liberty and equality above all things,” Perry said. “We are a nation founded by immigrants. And a nation proud to be Americans.”
Last year, more than 700,000 new Americans were sworn in as U.S. citizens in ceremonies around the nation. Since September 11, 2001, USCIS has naturalized more than 26,000 members of the United States military. Today, more than 1,093,000 Texans are naturalized citizens.
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