WASHINGTON (AP) — On a day focused on his demand for a border wall, President Donald Trump used music and pageantry to welcome “the five newest members of our great American family” during a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office.
In a ceremony Saturday that began to the strains of a violin and ended with a booming national anthem, Trump celebrated the five new Americans from Iraq, Britain, South Korea, Jamaica and Bolivia.
“Each of you worked hard for this moment. You followed the rules, upheld our laws,” the president said, stressing that they had arrived in the country legally.
A couple of hours later, Trump would unveil his offer to extend temporary protection to young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children if Democrats would agree to fund the southern border wall he promised as a candidate. Democrats quickly dismissed the plan as a “non-starter.”
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Trump introduced each of the new U.S. citizens, noting that some had come to the country with American spouses and some had children who were born here. To a woman from South Korea who came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies and is now a university professor, he said: “I want to congratulate you, and you’re going to have a great time.”
The new citizens had the oath of allegiance administered by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and received their naturalization certificates from Vice President Mike Pence, followed by a handshake from Trump.
“By taking this oath, you have forged a sacred bond with this nation, its traditions, its culture and its values. This heritage is now yours to protect, promote and pass down to the next generation and to the next wave of newcomers to our shores,” the president said.