Naturalization ceremonies are always inspiring. Immigration law is often complex. And the path to U.S. citizenship for the foreign-born can take many twists and turns. But when people who came from countries throughout the world are formally welcomed as Americans citizens, it is an occasion for celebration.
Earlier this month, the public library in St. Cloud was the site for one such celebration. Seventy-one people from 24 different countries of origin took the oath of allegiance and claimed U.S. citizenship.
A federal judge, Gregory Kishel, presided at the ceremony. The mayor of St. Cloud spoke and President Obama offered a videotaped greeting.
In his remarks, Judge Kishel emphasized the importance of diversity. Diversity, he said, is hardly a sign of weakness. It is a source of strength.
Historically, Minnesota has been a state whose ethnic composition is whiter than many other states. Thanks to immigration, however, Minnesota is becoming increasingly diverse. And as we have discussed previously in this blog, there are many benefits to Minnesota from this diversity.
One of these benefits is an enhanced economy. The skills, energy and drive brought by immigrants help fuel the economy and make it much more dynamic than it would be without immigration.
There is also the fact that a more diverse, inclusive culture makes Minnesota a more interesting and exciting place to live. And that excitement and inclusiveness naturally helps drive further immigration.
It remains to be seen what will happen with proposals for federal immigration reform. Yet regardless of what happens in Congress, Minnesota has already come a long way in opening itself up to the world. Every naturalization ceremony is evidence of that openness.
Source: “71 new citizens pledge oath of allegiance during naturalization ceremony,” St. Cloud Times, May 8, 201