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Special Citizenship Ceremonies to Commemorate the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by holding special citizenship ceremonies across the country from January 15 to January 22, 2010. During this week, more than 6,000 candidates for citizenship will take the Oath of Allegiance and become citizens of the United States. Each ceremony will embrace the theme, “Enriching the American Dream: The Celebration of a Legacy.“ Highlighted events include ceremonies at The King Center in Atlanta, Ga.; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.; and the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Ia. This year marks the 81st birthday of Dr. King.

USCIS will also hold a special overseas naturalization ceremony for service members at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul, South Korea.

Citizenship Statistics

Throughout history, immigrants have come to the United States seeking a better way of life and have strengthened the nation by bringing their rich cultures and traditions with them. Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants choose to become American citizens by taking the Oath of Allegiance at naturalization ceremonies across the country.

2001-2009: During this decade, the United States welcomed more than 5.6 million new citizens, including more than 744,000 people during fiscal year 2009. Since September 2001, USCIS has assisted more than 55,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.

1991-2000: Approximately 5.6 million individuals became U.S. citizens during this period, doubling the number from the previous decade. The late 1990s also marked another shift in naturalization demographics, with those of Mexican decent yielding the most naturalized citizens, followed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

1981-1990: Nearly 2.3 million people were naturalized during the 1980s; nearly half of whom came from Asia. Together, Canada and Mexico accounted for more than one quarter of the remaining new citizens.

1971-1980: The United States welcomed approximately 1.5 million new citizens during the 1970s. The Philippines, Cuba, and China were the leading countries of origin. This trend represented a shift from the 1960s, when the largest number of new citizens came from Europe. Some 66,000 members of the U.S. military were naturalized during this decade.

1908: The United States naturalized approximately 25,975 individuals.

1907: The United States naturalized approximately 7,941 individuals.


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