In celebration of National Women’s History Month, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services held an all-women naturalization ceremony for 60 candidates at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus on Friday, March 15. The ceremony, which includes the Oath of Allegiance, was the final step to citizenship for the candidates who represented 26 countries.
WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Katherine Gustafson provided opening remarks before the oath was administered by Federal Magistrate Judge Julie Sneed of the Middle District of Florida.
“This month is dedicated to amplifying women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present, and inspire the future. The strength of the women in this room today certainly inspires us all,” Gustafson told the women. “Immigrants helped found this country, helped secure our independence, and helped preserve our union. Immigrants have helped truly make America great. And America needs you now. America needs your active citizenship, your fresh perspectives on our toughest problems, and your cultural contribution.”
Gustafson went on to tell the group how her grandfather, an immigrant from Sweden, arrived in the U.S. in 1924. He was 18 years old and left both of his parents and three siblings in Sweden so he could have a better life in the United States.
“When he arrived, he had little to rely on besides a solid work ethic, a good head on his shoulders, and dreams of a better life. He became a citizen at the first opportunity and loved his country,” she said of her grandfather. “The truth is, immigrants like my grandfather and like all of you are essential to our nation’s strength and vitality. And they always have been. Congratulations on this tremendous achievement. We now entrust part of our nation’s future to you.”