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These Photographs of Immigrants Becoming US Citizens in the Age of Trump Will Move You

As gorgeous–and sometimes goofy–as the country they celebrate.
These Photographs of Immigrants Becoming US Citizens in the Age of Trump Will Move You
National Archives Museum, September 15, 2017. The oath was given in the rotunda in front of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

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.

Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: A mother holds her child while attending a naturalization service at the National Archives.
A mother holds her child while attending a naturalization service at the National Archives.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington Field Office, November 6, 2018. Maria Valles de Bonilla took the oath at age 106.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington Field Office, November 6, 2018. Maria Valles de Bonilla took the oath at age 106.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: A newly minted U.S. citizen during the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the USCIS field office in Fairfax.
A newly minted U.S. citizen during the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the USCIS field office in Fairfax.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: 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.
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.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: 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 woman from Ethiopia poses with her granddaughter after she participated in a special Halloween-themed citizenship ceremony at the USCIS field office in Fairfax.

Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: A box of new American flags sits by the entrance to the naturalization ceremony at Mt. Vernon.
A box of new American flags sits by the entrance to the naturalization ceremony at Mount Vernon.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: Citizenship ceremony at Mt. Vernon.
Citizenship ceremony at Mount Vernon.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: Mount Vernon, February 22, 2018.
Mount Vernon, February 22, 2018.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: A July Fourth citizenship ceremony at Mt. Vernon.
A July Fourth citizenship ceremony at Mount Vernon.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: A citizenship ceremony at the Old Town Alexandria City Hall.
A citizenship ceremony at the Old Town Alexandria City Hall.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: President Lincoln’s Cottage, May 31, 2018. Kids were given a chance to make stovepipe hats in honor of the 16th President.
President Lincoln’s Cottage, May 31, 2018. Kids were given a chance to make stovepipe hats in honor of the 16th President.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: Mount Vernon, February 22, 2018. After receiving their paperwork, new citizens ate a cake in honor of George Washington’s 286th birthday.
Mount Vernon, February 22, 2018. After receiving their paperwork, new citizens ate a cake in honor of George Washington’s 286th birthday.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: 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.
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.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: Newly minted U.S. citizens wave their flags during a naturalization service at the American History Museum.
Newly minted U.S. citizens wave their flags during a naturalization service at the American History Museum.
Photographs of Immigrants Becoming U.S. Citizens: Service members become American citizens during a ceremony at the American History Museum.
Service members become American citizens during a ceremony at the American History Museum.

This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

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