DEVENS, Mass. –
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Army welcomed 54 new citizens - several who are military service members - during a special naturalization ceremony May 19 at U.S. Army Garrison Devens.
Maj. Gen. Rodney Faulk, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division and senior mission commander of U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, delivered opening remarks during the event.
“Being a U.S. citizen is a great honor, and these men and women have earned their place, to quote our National Anthem, in the ‘Land of the free, and the home of the brave,’” Faulk said. “As a Soldier, I know that this land is free BECAUSE of the brave service members who have defended our country for the past two-and-a-half centuries.”
The new citizens hailed from the following 28 countries: Albania, Barbados, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Haiti, India, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Syria, Turkey, Uganda and Vietnam.
“I understand that several of our new citizens are members of our armed forces – how appropriate for them to swear the Oath of Allegiance today, Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated the third Saturday in May to pay tribute to the more than 2 million active-duty and reserve-component service members stationed in the United States and around the world,” Faulk said.
Nine of the new citizens are currently members of the U.S. armed forces. U.S. service members, veterans and their families may be eligible for certain immigration benefits in recognition of their service. Specifically, current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces may be eligible to become U.S. citizens through naturalization under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“As U.S. citizens, we are all beneficiaries of legions of Americans who have throughout history sworn the oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, the brave men and women who have volunteered to put their lives on the line so that “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” remain unalienable rights for generations to come,” Faulk said. “The fact that today’s Soldiers wear the uniform willingly makes their service all-the-more special.”
USCIS often participates in naturalization ceremonies at museums, schools, libraries and other notable locations to celebrate the conclusion of an immigrant’s journey to citizenship and honor the commitment they’ve shown.
“The lamp of Liberty still burns as brightly today as it ever has thanks to the service members who continue to keep lit its flame of freedom, and to the men and women who choose to become U.S. citizens and be part of the great American experiment,” Faulk said. “There are many rights afforded by citizenship, but with those rights come responsibilities – responsibilities that include being a part of the solution to the nation’s problems, and to contribute to its success in ways large and small.”
USAG Devens is at the center of the former Fort Devens, which was established on September 5, 1917, as Camp Devens. Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (Devens RFTA) is an Army Reserve installation established on April 1, 1996.
To learn more about Devens, visit https://home.army.mil/devens/index.php