Event in Tokyo culminates first overseas ceremonies
Approximately 20 active-duty service members took the Oath of Allegiance
and became the newest U.S. citizens during a special overseas military naturalization
ceremony on October 18, 2004 at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. The ceremony
in Tokyo culminates the first overseas military naturalization ceremonies conducted
by the United States Federal Government.
Joining the service members and their families to celebrate the swearing in were
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Deputy Director Michael Petrucelli
and Consul General Edward McKeon. Earlier in the month, USCIS Director Eduardo
Aguirre naturalized 34 service members in Iraq and 17 in Afghanistan.
“Today, we welcomed as new citizens men and women who had pledged to protect
America’s freedom,” said Director of USCIS Eduardo Aguirre. “Thousands
of immigrant troops are making extraordinary sacrifices for America. There is
no more fitting way for a grateful nation to demonstrate its appreciation than
through granting qualified service members the privilege of U.S. citizenship as
quickly as possible, to carry out their dream of becoming Americans.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to bestow the ultimate honor, American citizenship,
on these men and women who fight so bravely and tirelessly to defend the rights
and freedoms of their adopted country,” said Deputy Director Petrucelli.
Last November, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2004. The Act amended portions of the Immigration and Nationality
Act to allow for overseas military naturalization ceremonies. Before October 1,
2004, military service members could only naturalize while physically within the