Home | Civic Ceremonies
Welcome our newest citizens during a naturalization ceremony and watch democracy in action. Every week, our judges preside over a number of ceremonies that are open to the public. Some recent ceremonies:
Constitution Day Ceremonies 2018
On September 17, 2018, naturalization ceremonies were held throughout the Second Circuit at various sites in celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
Brooklyn, New York
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York held a Special Session of Court to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This year, fifty new citizens were welcomed inside the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein Ceremonial Courtroom in the Theodore Roosevelt United States Courthouse by Eastern District Chief Judge Dora L. Irizarry and members of the Eastern District bench.
Before the new citizens received their citizenship certificates, they watched a video presentation from United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who congratulated them on their accomplishment. The Ceremony’s keynote speaker was William Lohier, the 2018 New York City Youth Poel Laureate. In his role as Youth Poet Laureate, Lohier works alongside Urban Word NYC and NYC Votes to promote civic engagement and artistic excellence with youth across New York City. The National Anthem was performed by renowned opera singer and attorney Savannah Stevenson. Read more: "Brooklyn Federal Court Welcomes 50 New Citizens, Celebrating Citizenship Day."
Oyster Bay, New York
Fifty new citizens took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States at the Third Annual Special Naturalization Ceremony at the historic Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, the home of former President Theodore Roosevelt from 1885 to 1919. The Ceremony was in a partnership between the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association Law Student Division from St. John’s University Law School.
New citizens were welcomed by keynote speaker, Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Co-chair of Justice For All: Courts and the Community. Chief Judge Katzmann highlighted the cherished freedoms afforded to citizens by our Constitution, the wonderful opportunities America provides to all, and the importance of ensuring that courts are accessible, independent, and effective public institutions.
Chief Judge Katzmann was joined by federal judges from the Eastern District of New York, the Superintendent of Sagamore Hill, the Federal Bar Association’s National Civics Coordinator, the League of Women Voters, and the entire eighth grade class of South Woods Middle School in Syosset. Read more here.
Albany, New York
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York hosted forty-eight candidates for citizenship along with their families. Joining the nation’s newest citizens were thirty-six students from the Genesee High School Chorale Group. The students spoke with judges before the event, learning more about naturalization ceremonies. During the ceremony, the students performed three musical selections. Artwork celebrating the new citizens was displayed outside of the courtroom.
Constitution Day Ceremonies 2017
On September 18, 2017, naturalization ceremonies were held throughout the Second Circuit at various sites in celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
Brooklyn, New York
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York held a Special Session of Court to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. 51 new citizens gathered inside the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein Ceremonial Courtroom in the Theodore Roosevelt United States Courthouse. The new citizens were welcomed by Eastern District Chief Judge Dora L. Irizarry and other members of the Eastern District bench, including Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon, who introduced the Ceremony’s keynote speaker, Brooklyn College Professor Paul Moses. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara administered the Oath of Allegiance to the new citizens, and Judge William F. Kuntz, II performed God Bless America. Students from Fort Hamilton High School performed the Pledge of Allegiance and members of the New York State Police presented the colors of the United States. Read more about the Ceremony, “New Citizens Naturalized at Special Citizenship Day Ceremony.”
Oyster Bay, New York
Fifty new citizens took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States at the historic Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Presiding over the ceremony was Eastern District Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson who was joined by various members of the Eastern District bench. Assisting with various parts of the Ceremony was the entire 8th grade class from the Oyster Bay East Norwich School District. The National Anthem was performed by the Oyster Bay High School Chambers singers and Wind Ensemble. Welcoming remarks and greetings were giving by Kelly Furman, Superintendent, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site as well as Dina T. Miller, Esq., President, Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of New York Chapter.
In addition to various ceremonies held around the Second Circuit, many other federal courts around the nation participated in Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Learn more how students assisted federal courts to commemorate this day.
Other Notable Naturalization Ceremonies Held in 2017
On August 15, 2017, New Citizens Held Their Heads High, 102 Floors Above New York as Second Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann administered the Oath of Allegiance to 30 immigrants who became the United States’ newest citizens at One World Trade Center.
On June 15, 2017, Eastern District of New York Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon presided over a naturalization ceremony at the historic Wykoff House Museum in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Judge Scanlon administered the Oath of Allegiance to roughly 50 new United States Citizens representing 20 countries. Read more about the ceremony, "Dozens Sworn in as US Citizens in Brooklyn"
On August 8, 2017, roughly 300 people gathered to watch the naturalization of 70 new United States Citizens representing 26 countries on the stage of the Paramount Theater in downtown Rutland, VT. Presiding over the ceremony to administer the Oath of Allegiance and to welcome the nation's newest citizens, was District of Vermont, Chief Bankruptcy Judge Colleen A. Brown. Read more about the ceremony, "A Dream Come True."
Constitution Day Ceremonies 2016
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.
For schedules of naturalization ceremonies open to the public, please check the links below to courts throughout the Second Circuit.
- Southern District of New York Naturalization
- Eastern District of New York Naturalization
- District of Connecticut Naturalization
- Northern District of New York Naturalization
- District of Vermont Naturalization
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."