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U.S. Attorney Breon Peace welcomes 76 new U.S. citizens from 35 countries

February 1, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Eastern District of New York covers more than eight million people and which makes it one of the busiest trial courts in the entire country. However, one of the biggest roles that it plays doesn’t involve a court case at all — the EDNY naturalizes between 50,000 and 60,000 new U.S. Citizens each year.

“One of the best parts of my job is being able to work on behalf of and interact with the citizens of this great district — a district that was created in 1865 by President Abraham Lincoln,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace during a naturalization ceremony on Thursday.

“This district has a long and storied history, but to me, it is perhaps best characterized by its rich and vibrant diversity,” Peace continued. “This diversity is exemplified by the people in this room. People born on 2 continents around the globe. People of different races and religions, ethnicities and educations. People from widely disparate walks of life.”

In any given year there are between 600,000 and 800,000 new U.S. citizens naturalized, according to the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That means that nearly In the year 2020, there were approximately 600,000 new citizens naturalized, which means that the EDNY courthouse saw nearly 10 percent of all new U.S. citizens pass through its doors that year.

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The U.S. Attorney got a chance to greet 76 new citizens, who came from 35 different countries during a ceremony on Thursday. He invoked President Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy and President Barack Obama in his speech.

“Each of you, have journeyed to this country, you have joined this country, you have judged its ideals your ideals,” Peace said. “You have elected to become citizens in a land of opportunity and dreams as proud heirs of the Declaration of Independence. Hold fast to the belief that all men and women are created equal and pay it forward by bending the moral arc of this district and country towards justice, fairness, equity and inclusion. Never forget what brought you here and made you Americans.”

Each new citizen was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

“These documents, despite their central role in structuring a government of, by and for the people, did not contemplate that I, a black man and descendant of slaves, would one day be responsible for: protecting the 8.5 million residents of this district from crime; promoting civil rights, justice and equality for all; and safeguarding the very ideals of democracy and the rule of law enshrined in these documents,” Peace said. “Yet, we are together today as U.S. citizens.”

The EDNY holds several naturalization ceremonies each week on the second floor in the Brooklyn federal courthouse. The ceremony is not a required part of becoming a citizens, however, many elect to participate so they can formally swear an oath of allegiance, or if they want to legally change their names and have it appear on their Certificate of Naturalization.

Each ceremony is presided over by a judge and several times a year, the court will invite guest speakers like the U.S. Attorney, or local politicians.

The current Chief Judge of the EDNY, Hon. Margo Brodie, who is an immigrant from Antigua, was naturalized during a ceremony at the EDNY.


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