Manzanar hosts Citizenship Ceremony

Manzanar Historic Site hosts Naturalization Ceremony

May 25, 2016
by Allie Wilder

Today a Naturalization Ceremony took place at Manzanar National Historic Site in observance of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The ceremony was part of a partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the National Park Service to host 100 Naturalization Ceremonies in 100 National Parks and Monuments to celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial.

Keynote speaker Honorable Paul M. Igasaki congratulated the 14 local new citizens saying that they “Have altered the American Story today by becoming part of it”.

Both Igasaki and longtime Manzanar volunteer, 2016 National Park Service enduring service award winner and former internee Saburo Sasaki noted that until 1952 only those of European ancestry were eligible for naturalization. Sasaki urged the new citizens to exercise their new rights as the privilege of becoming American citizens has not always been available to everyone.

Bernadette Johnson, superintendent of Manzanar National Historic Site noted that the story of Manzanar is “A story of the fragility of our constitutional rights” and that she hopes that this can become an annual event.

In her closing remarks Monica E. Toro from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stated that making this an annual event will be their pleasure. The ceremony concluded with Voter Registration for the new citizens and a tour of Manzanar National Historic Site led by Saburo Sasaki.

image1
The 14 new citizens taking their Oath of Allegiance. Photo by Allie Wilder
Manzanar national historic site, manzanar hosts citizenship ceremony, owens valley news