Naturalization Ceremony for New Americans
World Refugee Day is an event celebrated around the world on June 20th and this year the IRC joined the celebration with a Naturalization Ceremony. Naturalization, the process of becoming a citizen, is a dream come true for many refugees. It is an arduous process that takes time and hard work to achieve. When refugees arrive in the US, it is expected that they will stay here forever and rebuild their lives as part of the fabric of American culture. After five years, they are eligible to become US citizens, a status that reveals their commitment to their new home and honors the roots they have already laid down in their years of resettlement. They must pass a citizenship test, which includes learning English, demonstrate good moral character and save hundreds of dollars for the application fee. But these challenges are easily approached as the final result, citizenship, is worth the hard work. For many refugees who have been forced out of their former countries, becoming an American citizen represents a new birth, perhaps the first time in which they can say “I am finally home,” and the government will answer not with violent repercussions, but a strong legal agreement. As Robin Dunn-Marcos, the IRC Phoenix Executive Director told the new citizens, “No more refugee travel documents, no more references to being an alien – you are a citizen – you belong! Your rights are secured and you are free – the journey from harm to home is complete.”
Phoenix viewers may have been lucky enough to see the event covered on local channels 3, 5, 10, and 12. If you missed it, click here to see the KSAZ Fox 10 coverage or here to read about the event in the Arizona Republic.
The IRC was honored to host the event in collaboration with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Attendees enjoyed a festive atmosphere with flowers donated by Universal Flowers and dined on delicious cupcakes donated by the Cake Contessa. If you would like to help refugees on their journey to citizenship, please consider volunteering at the IRC, interested individuals should contact Nicolle Walker, Volunteer Coordinator, or call 602.433.2440 ext.213.