“The idea that we have as a nation, and we can define America in one word: possibilities,” President Biden says. “Possibilities. Since its founding, that very idea has been nurtured, enriched, and advanced by the contributions, sacrifices, and dreams of immigrants like you and immigrants like my own ancestors from Ireland, like generations of our fellow Americans.”
“Today you’ve earned a new title equal to that of an American president, the title I’m 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 and legacies here like generations have done before you in this great nation of immigrants.”
“So welcome my friends, welcome my fellow Americans, welcome,” he continued. “May God bless you all, and may God bless the United States of America.”
The AP reports that presidents have commonly recorded a video to be played following naturalization ceremonies, though it has not been played in more recent ceremonies that have been affected due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. “The White House and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released the video publicly so that it can be viewed by new citizens and the public from home,” the report said.
That report noted the previous president recorded a video as well—and did so while implementing policies attacking legal immigration. Last month, Biden revoked that president’s green card ban, saying in a proclamation that the previous administration’s policy did “not advance the interests of the United States.”
“To the contrary, it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here,” the statement continued.
USCIS itself has been through a tumultuous few years (to say the least), and particularly under the watch of unlawfully appointed acting director and anti-immigrant loudmouth Ken Cuccinelli. Then in truly one of the most grotesque and surreal moments from that presidency (and there were a lot), a naturalization ceremony filmed at the White House was used as part of the Republican National Convention. Two of the naturalized citizens would later say they had no idea that was going to happen.
In a statement, America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry said Biden’s video, as well as his immigration overhaul plan, “offers hope that we are ready to move closer to an America worthy of immigrants’ aspirations and the welcoming nation we aspire to be.”
“Throughout our history, America has been a magnet for the people from every corner of the world. Immigrants and refugees have made America a better place and stronger nation at every stage of our nation’s development,” Sharry continued. “Those who want to keep out and kick out immigrants and refugees undermine the very definition of America as a hopeful, proud and confident nation. It’s time to live true to our ideals, move forward with a can-do spirit, and get big things done.”