Everyone in Pierce County is invited to watch approximately 75 immigrants become American citizens during a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The naturalization ceremony – the final step to attain citizenship – begins promptly at 11 a.m. at the Mount Tahoma High School Auditorium, 4634 S. 74th St. in Tacoma. The ceremony, conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is free and open to the public.
The September ceremony date coincides with Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, which are observed on Sept. 17. This national holiday commemorates the signing of the Constitution and the recognition of all who - by naturalization - have become citizens.
"Pierce County is proud of each and every immigrant and refugee who makes the tremendous effort to complete the naturalization process. We embrace these new citizens and voters and want to honor them right here in Pierce County," said Julie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor.
Approximately 75 immigrants from 31 countries are expected to participate and become American citizens. Together with their family members and supporters, nearly 300 people will attend.
The Tacoma Community House Choir will perform between 10:30 and 11 a.m. This special choir is composed of English language learners, paired with their language mentors.
The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution will be on hand in period dress and will post the colors, handing out American flags.
The ceremony begins with greeting from the Mayor of the City of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland. The City of Tacoma is a member of the Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative, which encourages communities to create more welcoming, immigrant friendly environments that maximize opportunities for economic growth and cultural vitality.
The 2016 keynote speaker is Liz Dunbar, the Executive Director of Tacoma Community House. Ms. Dunbar served many roles in State government, including as State Refugee Coordinator and Diversity Director for the Department of Social and Health Services. She is active in community affairs as well, serving on the board of trustees for Tacoma Community College, the boards of the LASCO Foundation, Pioneer Human Services and the Japanese American Citizens League. She is the daughter of a Japanese immigrant and a US Air Force officer.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Questions about immigration and naturalization Sharon Rummery, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 415-248-8873 (office) or 415-987-0191 (mobile) Sharon.Rummery@uscis.dhs.gov
Questions about Citizenship Celebration and voter registrationJulie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor 253-798-3188 (office) or 253-318-0493 (mobile) Julie.Anderson@co.pierce.wa.us