World Refugee Day U.S. Citizenship Ceremony
Twenty-nine people from 17 countries became U.S. Citizens in a special Naturalization Ceremony at the Asylum Office in San Francisco, CA on June 19. The ceremony was organized in observance of World Refugee Day, a day to reflect on the strength, courage and perseverance of the millions of refugees around the world and to acknowledge the many contributions refugees have made to our communities.
Scales of the City, a San Francisco based a cappella group, opened the event with the singing of the National Anthem followed by welcoming remarks from Emilia Bardini, Director of the San Francisco Asylum Office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the administration of the Oath of Allegiance by John Kramar, District Director for the San Francisco District Office, USCIS.
Men and women who came to the US as refugees and asylees from Burma to Yemen pledged to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and laws of the United States. Many became emotional when keynote speaker, Sysvanh Kabkeo, Chief of the Refugee Programs Bureau for the California Department of Social Services and State Refugee Coordinator reminded the new citizens of their rights and responsibilities, including the right to vote and run for elected office.