Naturalization ceremony set for July 4

  • The Center for New Americans 4th of July naturalization ceremony in 2015. —GREG SAULMON PHOTO

@DHGCrosby
Published: 6/27/2016 1:56:43 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Center for New Americans is set once again to celebrate Independence Day by publicly welcoming immigrants during a naturalization ceremony.

An expected 52 successful applicants will take their oath of allegiance to the United States during the eighth annual July 4 naturalization ceremony at Northampton’s Old Courthouse.
In 2015, 48 new citizens were naturalized.

Six immigrants representing Moldova, Colombia, Iraq, Mexico, Jamaica and Pakistan were assisted by Center for New Americans in the citizenship process. They will join others in the 11 a.m. ceremony which is planned for the lawn, with a rain location of Hampshire Superior Court Courtroom #1.

Center executive director Laurie Millman said the festive event provides Americans with a new lens through which to see their country. It also serves to celebrate America’s rich cultural background, she said.

“In our day-to-day lives we often forget how much of a beacon this country is for other people around the world,” she said, noting the sheer joy as new citizens wave flags and shed tears of happiness.

American citizenship means a great deal to people who have worked hard for it, said Millman. 

“It’s something we are born into and take for granted, but people from around the world really strive for,” she said. “It reminds me there is much that is admirable about this place.”

Northampton native and U.S. Magistrate Katherine Robertson is set to preside. Other attendees will include  Center for New Americans volunteers, color guard provided by Greenfield Girl Scout Troop 12926, and Evelyn Harris, who routinely sings the national anthem at the yearly ceremony.

Over the past year, the center has assisted nearly 70 immigrants in applying for citizenship.

Maureen McMahon, citizenship and immigration program coordinator at the Center for New Americans, said the increase in citizenship applications is due, in part, to “immigrants’ commitment to voting in this year’s presidential election.”

To help them on their way, Yvonne Freccero and staff at Northampton’s League of Woman Voters will provide a table at which the new citizens can register to vote immediately after the ceremony.

The Springfield Technical Community College radio station, WTCC-FM, will offer a live broadcast of the event.

For more information, visit Center for New Americans online at www.cnam.org or contact Millman at 413-587-0084 or laurie@cnam.org.

Sarah Crosby can be reached at scrosby@gazettenet.com.


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