Civic Ceremonies

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Watch democracy in action. Our judges preside over a number of ceremonies that are open to the public. Welcome our newest citizens during a naturalization ceremony. Learn about the meaning of our country's founding document on Constitution Day.

On September 16, 2016, naturalization ceremonies were held at the following iconic sites in celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

  • Ellis Island, in New York
  • Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C.
  • Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, New York
  • Fort Stanwix, in Rome, New York
  • Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park, in Virginia
  • Great Smoky Mountains, near Knoxville, TN
  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, in West Branch, IA
  • Yosemite National Park, in California
  • Battleship USS Missouri Memorial, in Hawaii

Watch as new citizens take the oath of allegiance.

Congratulatory remarks by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, whose own father came to this country fleeing Nazi persecution, presided at the Ellis Island ceremony, the "Superbowl of Naturalization ceremonies." Read Chief Katzmann's 2014 Constitution Day editorial, "What all citizens can learn from new ones" here.

Read Me, My Grandfather, and Citizenship Day," by Judge Denny Chin, Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Brooklyn, New York, students attended a naturalization ceremony featuring keynote speaker Okieriete Onaodowan, from the Broadway musical Hamilton. When asked about what they liked most about the program, one student said: "you can be anything you want in America." Read Eastern District of New York Chief Judge Dora Irizarry's welcoming remarks and introduction of Okieriete Onaodowan.

Learn more

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Citizenship Through Naturalization.

Read about naturalization ceremonies in New York federal courts, "In New York City, Hundreds Become U.S. Citizens Just In Time to Vote."


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