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Rep. Michaud's address to 79 New U.S. Citizens
By Office of Rep Michaud
Dec 22, 2013 - 5:05:34 AM

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PORTLAND, Maine -- On Friday, Representative Mike Michaud was a guest speaker at a naturalization ceremony held at the Portland Public Library. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalized 79 candidates for citizenship during the ceremony.

According to USCIS, the new citizens originate from the following 30 countries: Albania, Argentina, Belarus, Belize, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Ireland, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Tibet, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

The new citizens reside in the following Maine cities and towns: Auburn, Bangor, Bath, Belfast, Biddeford, Bridgton, Brooklin, Buxton, Chelsea, Fairfield, Falmouth, Freeport, Hancock, Kennebunk, Kittery, Lewiston, Limington, Milford, Millinocket, Old Orchard Beach, Pittsfield, Portland, Rockport, Saco, Scarborough, South Portland, Topsham, Westbrook and York.

Michaud's remarks as prepared for delivery:

It's an honor to be one of the first to greet you as my fellow citizens of the United States. I can only imagine how special this day is for you and your families. It's also a special day for me and for this country. It's a reminder of what America is all about.

We are a country born out of the idea that every man and women, regardless of the color of their skin or the language they speak, deserves the right to be free and to choose their own destiny.

We are a country of immigrants who are bound together--not because we share the same race, ethnicity or religion--but because we share the same love of this country and a commitment to the fundamental values of fairness, equality and liberty that America represents.

It's those values and the principle of opportunity that has brought and will continue to bring so many to our shores. The principle that regardless of where you come from or how rich or poor you are, if you work hard and play by the rules you can achieve the American Dream.

Immigration makes this country prosperous, grows our workforce, and enriches our communities with more diversity, innovation, and energy. We are a stronger country because of the millions who have come before you and the millions who will come after you.

I know the process was not easy, but I promise you it was worth it. So, thank you!

Just as America is so lucky and proud to have all of you here, we -- in this room -- are all fortunate to call the United States of America our home. With that fortune comes an obligation and responsibility to honor and protect our country's legacy and all that it stands for.

So what does that mean?

It means that as U.S. citizens, it is our responsibility to engage in the political process. You've earned the right to vote and the right to place your fingerprint on American history. Cherish that. Engage.

Don't be afraid to speak up when you see injustice or initiate change when you see your fellow citizens or elected leaders failing to live up to the founding principles we've all pledged to protect. It's the strong voices of a few who were willing to speak when no one else would that have made this country great.

Voting isn't the only way to be involved. Engage in your communities. Volunteer for those less fortunate than you and support those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe and protect our freedoms -- our troops, firefighters, and police officers. Who knows...perhaps you'll even be one someday.

So welcome!

Celebrate your citizenship, explore your new home, and embrace the new opportunity that is now in front of you.

Thank you, and congratulations.

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