U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Bangkok Deputy Director Stacy Strong on September 18, 2009, joined Rear Adm. Richard Wren, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Japan, at the Yokosuka Naval Station for a special naturalization ceremony for 98 new citizens of the United States.
Deputy Director Strong administered the Oath of Allegiance to the 56 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines; 40 military spouses; and two children of Sailors. This was the largest number of spouses to naturalize in one ceremony outside the United States.
As the new citizens recited the Oath, they declared to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America,” which had added significance as the ceremony was held to celebrate and observe Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
Deputy Director Strong underscored USCIS’ commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces, and remarked that USCIS will continue to ensure the military and their family members have every possible opportunity to become citizens wherever they serve.
Those naturalized in today’s ceremony were born in 33 nations: Bolivia, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Macedonia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Korea, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2008 permits spouses and children of U.S service members to receive their citizenship overseas where their spouse/parent is stationed, even though the child may never have been in the United States. Previous immigration law required spouses and children to be physically present within the United States to naturalize.