Over a nine day period approximately 32,000 immigrants will be able to call themselves Americans after participating in a naturalization ceremony. On Wednesday afternoon, 24 men and women from countries such as Cuba, India, Pakistan and the Ukraine, participated in a ceremony at Historic New Bridge Landing in River Edge.
"In this country, none of us are of one origin," River Edge historian Kevin Wright said. "What binds us together is our shared history. The American Revolution did not end in 1778, it is still ongoing today. It is a process that is benefitted by your spirit, talents and intelligence."
For Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan, the ceremony hit close to home as 16 years ago she participated in a similar ceremony for her son, Brendan, who was adopted from Paraguay.
"Sixteen years ago I sat where each of you are with my son, waiting to take the Oath of Allegiance for him," Donovan said. "It was emotional not only because it was my son, but also because I knew the opportunities he would have as a US citizen as you will. This is a diverse society and you enrich us. On behalf of all of the Bergen County citizens, I welcome you all here."
Donovan along with River Edge Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo urged each of teh 24 men and women to register to vote following the ceremony so their voices could be heard during the November election.
"This is a country of immigrants with a duty to your community, towns, county, state and nation," Moscaritolo said. "The best way to serve your duty is by registering to vote and having a say in the direction of this country."
The newly sworn in Americans originated from the following countries: Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Preu, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Ukraine.
According to USCIS, the agency welcomes approximately 680,000 citizens during naturalization ceremonies each year. In 2011, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area was home to 14.3 percent of naturalized citizens. Also in 2011, 73% of all naturalized citizens resided in 10 states with New Jersey ranking fifth, just behind Texas.