CARECEN to Host Naturalization Ceremony in Mount Pleasant-Columbia Heights

Washington, DC, May 30, 2013 – CARECEN is proud to partner with the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Mount Pleasant Library to host a special naturalization ceremony on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 11 AM.

The ceremony is the culmination of the road to citizenship for those who have taken all the steps to naturalize and are ready to deepen their commitment to this nation, gain and exercise the right to vote, and achieve greater integration in their new home. It is a day filled with pride and sense of accomplishment, a day to celebrate immigrant success stories like Sandra Portillo’s, a hardworking mother of three and a recent graduate of CARECEN’s citizenship program, who has walked this road until the end and became a US citizen in February of this year. She will lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, accompanied by her former citizenship instructor, Rachel Gittinger.

Naturalization candidates are sworn in as U.S. citizens at U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

During the ceremony, 20 naturalization candidates will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in order to become citizens. The Oath will be administered by Sarah Taylor, Director of the USCIS Washington District Office. Julie Rodriguez, Associate Director of Latino Affairs and Immigration at the White House, will be our special guest and Abel Nuñez, CARECEN’s Executive Director, will be making welcoming remarks with regard to CARECEN’s trajectory in providing citizenship assistance. In attendance will also be representatives of the government of the District of Columbia, CARECEN citizenship students and graduates, family and friends of the candidates, and general public. Diana Sanchez, member of Paso Nuevo, GALA Theater’s Youth Performance Group, will be interpreting the Star Spangled Banner.

CARECEN was founded in 1981 to protect the rights of refugees arriving from conflict in Central America and to help ease their transition by providing legal services. Over the years CARECEN has served a broader immigration and naturalization client base from Latin America and beyond. CARECEN’s citizenship program was established in 1995 to provide civics education and legal assistance with applying for naturalization. We are currently a proud Citizenship and Integration Grantee of USCIS until 2014, an incredible opportunity that has allowed CARECEN to further strengthen our program and expand capacity to serve our community.

“This ceremony is of utmost importance to our ongoing efforts to promote citizenship among DC region’s immigrant community, celebrate immigrant diversity in our neighborhood and city and serve as motivation to eligible lawful permanent residents to pursue naturalization,” said Ana Negoescu, Director of Education and Advocacy at CARECEN.

“We are delighted to hold this ceremony at the Mount Pleasant Library, a landmark of the Mount Pleasant-Columbia Heights neighborhood, the historic center of the Latino community in the District of Columbia,” added Negoescu. The Mount Pleasant Library at 3160 16th Street NW is a branch of the District of Columbia Public Library System that opened in May 1925, and is the third oldest public library building still in use in Washington. The library houses one of the largest collections of Spanish-language materials in the District and offers a variety of programs in the Spanish language and geared for immigrants such as computer classes as well as story time for children.

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