In celebration of National Women’s History Month, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services held an all-women naturalization ceremony at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus on Friday, March 6. The ceremony includes the Oath of Allegiance, the final step to citizenship for the candidates.
WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Katherine Gustafson provided opening remarks and WMU-Cooley Campus Director Daniela Mendez spoke about her immigration experience before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda Sansone of the Middle District of Florida administered the oath.
“It is appropriate that we have this ceremony during National Women's History month as the month is dedicated to amplifying women's voices to honor the past, inform the present, and inspire the future,” said Gustafson. “Immigrants are essential to our nation's strength and vitality because immigrants helped to found this country, helped to secure our independence, and helped to preserve our union. Even though you are now a naturalized citizen, you are just as American as any other citizens who may have been born here, or who may trace their lineage back to the Mayflower.”
Mendez, herself an immigrant, who earned a law degree spoke about realizing her dream to become a U.S. citizen.
"This moment, right now, is the American Dream. The American Dream is not about money, or a house, but it is the opportunity to be an American while being able to keep you culture,” said Mendez. “Stay true to your culture and celebrate your accomplishments. Being naturalized is not about forgetting where you come from, but learning to cherish the American way of life. It is important to celebrate this occasion with your friends and family who helped you get to this point today.”