I hope you don’t take your American citizenship for granted. Today I again gave thanks for being born an American and especially a Texan. Every time I attend a naturalization ceremony, I realize just how lucky I am.
Since the beginning of American history, people from other countries have come to our great country, taken the Oath of Allegiance to become naturalized citizens, and contributed to their new communities and country. The Oath of Allegiance has led them to American citizenship for more than 220 years.
The first naturalization law went into effect way back in 1790. Applicants for naturalization then and now are required to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. The Naturalization Act of 1795 required an applicant to declare an intention (commitment) to become a U.S. citizen and to renounce or give up any allegiance to a foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty. If an applicant was born with a hereditary title, the future Americans had to renounce their titles or orders of nobility. If you were a prince or princess in your country of origin, you would be an average citizen here in the USA.
Would you believe that there used to be as many as 5,000 courts with naturalization jurisdiction? Each court could develop its own procedures for administering the oath, which, as you can imagine, led to a wide range of activities. It wasn’t until 1906 that the Basic Naturalization Act was passed, but it took 24 more years to get an official standard text for the oath of allegiance.
An official standard text for the oath of allegiance did not appear in the regulations until 1929. The regulation said that before a naturalization certificate could be issued, the applicant should take the oath, quoted below, in court.
This morning at 11:00 AM in the Federal Court House, Fort Worth, Texas, 57 individuals from 29 countries stood in a courtroom, raised their right hands, and pledged allegiance to our country by speaking aloud the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. This is what each person said,
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
America is better for our infusion of new minds and bodies into our country. Welcome; happy to have you all.
If you would like to attend the next naturalization ceremony on November 19, you can. No charge--free. You will need to leave your cell phone in the car or at home and go through a metal detector, but it’s worth any small inconvenience when you see the smiles on the faces of our newest citizens.
God bless America!
Annie Ambles to the Federal Courthouse to hand out American flags to new citizens