At N.H. Statehouse, New Citizens Welcomed to the 'Great Melting Pot of America'

Sep 22, 2017

Luis Jimenez, far left, joins 80 others in taking the oath of citizenship.
Credit Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Eighty-one people from thirty-seven different countries became U.S. citizens Friday at the New Hampshire Statehouse.

The naturalization ceremony was the first in nearly twenty years held in Representatives Hall.

Presiding Justice Landya McCafferty says it was a special event to coincide with Constitution Week.

Luis Jimenez savored every minute of it. He came to America from the Dominican Republic in the late 1980s. Now he’s a surgeon who lives in Hollis.

“It’s a good feeling. Like you belong,” he says.

McCafferty spoke of the group's new rights. They can run for office. Or serve in the military.

“Some of you came here for economic opportunity. Others to avoid political or religious oppression. Whatever your reason, now you are all citizens of the United States. We are all Americans. Together we stand as one people, defined not by blood, or race, or tribe, or wealth, but by the fact of citizenship.”

Governor Chris Sununu also spoke of the citizens’ new rights and freedoms, while New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper welcomed the audience to “the great melting pot of America.”

New Hampshire Supreme Court Associate Justice James P. Bassett noted his grandfather came to America from Denmark in 1905. He became a citizen in 1911.

“Just two generations later, 106 years after he became a citizen, his grandson is now a Supreme Court justice here in New Hampshire. Only in America would that be possible. And such are the possibilities for you and your children, and your grandchildren.”