Becoming Americans

13 Oct. 2016. Boston, MA. A man waves an American flag over the crowd gathered in the Great Hall of Faneuil Hall. He is one of the 355 people from several different countries that had gone through the process of naturalization and wait in the hall to become American citizens. During the ceremony they have to pledge the allegiance to their new country, the USA. After five years of permanent legal residency in the USA, immigrants can apply for naturalization. They have to expect an interview with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), where the officers ask them about their background, character and attachment to the constitution. During the interview they have also to take an English test and a civic test concerning USA history and government. The have to answer six out ten civics questions correctly. All the possible 100 civics questions are publicly released by the USCIS. The last step is taking the Oath of Allegiance in front of the judge during the assigned date of the ceremony. USCIS provides some guidelines for the ceremony, where it can be read “The naturalization ceremony is a solemn and meaningful event. Please dress in proper attire to respect the dignity of this event (please no jeans, shorts, or flip flops)”.
 13 Oct. 2016. Boston, MA. Several people wait in the long line in the Great Hall of Faneuil Hall, before the ceremony of naturalization for becoming American citizens start. During the ceremony they will swear allegiance to their new country. Before taking the Oath of Allegiance they have to line up to check-in, return their permanent residence card and answer some questions about what they have done since the interview they took with USCIS in order to meet the requirements for naturalization. The ceremony is held in Faneuil Hall, one of the most meaningful places of Boston. Since 1743 it has been a marketplace and meeting hall, and was a crucial site during the war of independence from Great Britain. The Great Hall on the second floor, with the Georgian architecture and the large paintings, host the people waiting for the ceremony together with their families and friends, that have to assist to the ceremony from the balconies above the hall.
13 Oct. 2016. Boston, MA. People from different countries of origin swear the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony held at Faneuil Hall. Before the judge Rya Zobel starts with the official pledge of allegiance there is a moment of hollers and applauses while she read the names of the countries of origins of the people gathered to become American citizens, asking them to stand up and shake their small American flags. After a brief speech, an explanation of the rights and duties of the new citizens, and an encouragement to vote for the presidential election, all the people gathered chant the American anthem and take the Oath of Allegiance: “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“.
13 Oct. 2016. Boston, MA. Newly American citizens go down the stairs from the Great Hall of Faneuil Hall, where they just attended the naturalization ceremony and took the Oath of Allegiance to the nation. In the square in front of Faneuil Hall their families, relatives and friends wait for them to celebrate together. Many of the new American citizens get out of the door waving their small American flags, exulting and showing their joy. After they exit the hall, their beloved welcomed them with pictures, hugs and smiles, gathered all together in a moment of deep emotions, while some volunteers walk through the crowd distributing leaflets with guidelines for the upcoming presidential elections.
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