Immigration may be the most explosive issue in American life today. The fraught scenes along the border have made headlines, but legal immigration is suddenly controversial, too. Where celebrating the dreams of new Americans was once a bipartisan activity, today’s political scene features efforts to slash their numbers. Yet for all of the bile, we keep minting new citizens—and celebrating their entry into our American family. Below, photos of naturalization ceremonies around Washington over the past two years.
A mother holds her child while attending a naturalization service at the National Archives.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington Field Office, November 6, 2018. Maria Valles de Bonilla took the oath at age 106.
A newly minted U.S. citizen during the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the USCIS field office in Fairfax.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services, October 31, 2018. Children being sworn in were invited to wear Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat in the office.
A woman from Ethiopia poses with her granddaughter after she participated in a special Halloween-themed citizenship ceremony at the USCIS field office in Fairfax.
A box of new American flags sits by the entrance to the naturalization ceremony at Mount Vernon.
Citizenship ceremony at Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon, February 22, 2018.
A July Fourth citizenship ceremony at Mount Vernon.
A citizenship ceremony at the Old Town Alexandria City Hall.
President Lincoln’s Cottage, May 31, 2018. Kids were given a chance to make stovepipe hats in honor of the 16th President.
Mount Vernon, February 22, 2018. After receiving their paperwork, new citizens ate a cake in honor of George Washington’s 286th birthday.
National Museum of American History, June 14, 2018. The Flag Day ceremony took place in the building that houses the original Star-Spangled Banner that inspired Francis Scott Key.
Newly minted U.S. citizens wave their flags during a naturalization service at the American History Museum.
Service members become American citizens during a ceremony at the American History Museum.
This article appears in the Washingtonian January 2019 issue of .