Mayor Regina Romero welcomed 105 new U.S. citizens to the country on Nov. 10 with personal family stories, while President Joe Biden offered an inspiring video message.
The United States of America Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona’s citizenship ceremony was administered by Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins at the Pima Air and Space Museum in honor of Veterans Day.
“Welcome my fellow Americans, first and foremost, I want to thank you for choosing us, and believing that America is worthy of your aspirations,” Biden said via video.
“Every immigrant comes to America for different circumstances and for different reasons, but you all have one thing in common, courage. The courage it takes to sacrifice and make this journey, the courage to leave your home, your lives and your loved ones, and come to a nation that is more than just a place, but rather an idea, an idea where everyone is created equal and deserves to be treated equal.”
Biden told the audience America can be defined by one word: possibilities.
“Today you have earned a new title, equal to that of an American president,” Biden said. “A title I am most proud of, citizen, citizen of the United States of America. I look forward to standing with you as you embrace your new rights and responsibilities, as you build your lives, your legacy here like generations have done before you in this great nation of immigrants. Welcome my friends, welcome my fellow Americans, welcome. May God bless you all and may God bless the United States of America.”
The citizens were born in 25 countries: Armenia, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Congo (Kinshasa), the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Guyana, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
“It is an honor to be here with all of you today,” Romero said. “I’d like to first start by thanking (Pima Air & Space Museum executive director) Scott Marchand for welcoming us to this beautiful historic place that holds so much value to the city of Tucson and our residents.”
Romero asked for acknowledgement for the original stewards of the Sonoran Desert; the nations of the original people, the Tohono O’odham and the Pascua Yaqui tribes.
“Really, in actuality, we are all immigrants,” Romero said. “Today you have taken the same oath, you have become U.S. citizens. Taking this oath of citizenship with all the rights, responsibilities and privileges that it holds. It is what brings us all together.”
The mayor also thanked Kimmins for presiding over the naturalization and administered the oath. Romero told the new USA citizens of her immigrant family.
“I am a proud daughter of immigrant farm working parents,” she said. “Although my family has lived in the Sonoran Desert region for over six generations, I was the first person in my family to be born on the United States side of the border.”
From her parents, Romero said she learned to respect the lands, to work hard, to value her education and “to always exercise my right to vote.”
She told her fellow citizens that everyone faces struggles, yet there are so many possibilities and opportunities awaiting them.
“As a young girl, I never thought I would be the first woman mayor of the city of Tucson.” Romero said. “I have always believed in our democracy and public service. I love being able to serve the people of Tucson, Arizona.”
Facing challenges and struggles, Romero told the new citizens to “remember this setting, this place, this day, and the faces around you.”
“It becomes our job to work together toward perfecting our democracy,” she added. “That is the essence of what being a citizen is all about. Participating in our democracy.”
Romero said the United States needs each of them “...to create the best United States that we can be.
“The place where you and your family will grow and thrive. We need your leadership, your creativity, your problem solving, your heart, your voice. We need your ideas and insights, we need your courage…We are one, Somos uno.”